Mitch McGary headed to NBA after failed drug test
By Michael Osipoff 713-2485 or firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @MichaelOsipoff April 25, 2014 12:08PM
Michigan v Syracuse
Updated: May 27, 2014 6:11AM
Mitch McGary might have returned to Michigan for his junior season. He might not have, instead opting to declare for the NBA Draft.
But the Chesterton native’s decision to turn pro was all but made with Friday’s revelation that he was facing an NCAA-mandated one-year suspension from playing because of a positive test for marijuana.
The situation obviously is less than ideal for McGary, who also missed all but eight games this past season with a back injury. But it also could be the impetus for the multi-skilled 6-foot-10 player to truly maximize his vast potential, his AAU coach with SYF Players said.
“If he puts his nose down and starts to grind it out, which I think this incident will make him do, Mitch is going to absolutely kill it,” Wayne Brumm said on his way the King James Shooting Stars Classic in Akron, Ohio. “The general public, the casual observer, even the people at Chesterton and Brewster (Academy) and Michigan, they do not know the real Mitch McGary. Unfortunately, because of injuries and coaching styles and roles, he’s not really been able to display who he is. But now he has that chance. He just has to get healthy, and get in basketball shape.
“I think people are going to be real shocked. They haven’t seen him at his best — not even close.”
McGary appeared to be trending in that direction as he starred for the Wolverines in their 2013 NCAA Tournament run to the national championship game. He was projected as a lottery pick, then decided to return to Michigan for his sophomore season, a surprise in many quarters.
McGary was named a preseason All-American, but back surgery short-circuited what had shaped up to be a monster season for him. He now is viewed as more of a late first-round pick, with DraftExpress.com, for example, pegging him as the first pick of the second round (to the Milwaukee Bucks) in the mock draft posted on its website on Friday afternoon.
“The draft can be overrated,” Brumm said. “And everybody can be an expert on the draft, right? Everybody focuses on where he’s going to go in the draft, but that’s not the issue, it’s not all that important — I know a lot of people disagree. The most important thing is having a long-term career, getting to that second contract, and going lower in the first round as opposed to the lottery, there will be less pressure, he’ll be on a good team with a good culture, so it might be even better for him.”
Brumm has “every confidence” that McGary has the support system to flourish.
“It’s a moot point to talk about it now, but with his back throwing a monkey wrench into the plans, it was under consideration for him come back; his team of advisors and coaches were looking strongly at both sides,” he said. “Then this incident was another monkey wrench. But sometimes you have to make lemonade out of lemons, and maybe this is what he needed to get that laser-focus. Because he is a genetic specimen, and I’m just very excited and anxious for him to be more able to show the wide level of skills that he has.
“I know Mitch is really hurt by this (positive drug test), he’s really distressed about it. He felt like he let a lot of people down. He made a mistake, but let’s get it out, and let’s move on.”