A few weeks ago, when we changed our ESPNU 100 rankings, guys were shuffled around. Some rose, some fell. Mitch McGary (Chesterton, Ind./Brewster) had the biggest stock decrease, going from No. 2 to No. 22 and frankly, that’s the most significant drop I’ve been associated with during my tenure in recruiting.
Why did it happen?
From my seat, it was a combination of two things: Mitch and us. He didn’t play well and we seemingly overvalued him during the travel team season. Let me tell you, there’s nothing fulfilling when you have to make that drastic of a change in a grade. You feel for the kid, what he’s thinking, how it’ll affect him and so forth. On the other hand, there’s a job to do. For me, the biggest component in making the change -- other than attempting to get the evaluation right -- is resetting the expectations for him once he arrives on campus at Michigan.
McGary’s a fun-loving personality. He’ll be magnetic with the Wolverines students and the folks in Ann Arbor are going to embrace him and vice versa. Hopefully he enters Michigan with more reasonable expectations than that of being the No. 2 player and having to put a program on his back. He’s entering a situation that is on solid ground with a great foundation. The Wolverines need him to be a function of their team -- not a savior.
After speaking with Brewster coach Jason Smith, it seems that McGary is getting back on track.
“We’ve talked to him about just relaxing and not feeling so much pressure to put up scoring numbers,” Smith said. “That’s not what we need. We need him to get on the glass and he’s put up double-doubles the last two weeks.”
Smith felt that there was a part of McGary that may have been relieved that he didn’t have to live up to the lofty expectations that may have been outsized anyway.
“He may not admit it, but I think he probably does a little bit," Smith said. "Someone uploaded the new rankings the other day and he was more fired up that five of his teammates were in the top 100 than he was worried about dropping. He’s just a great teammate,"
Smith said everywhere McGary’s gone this year the opposing crowd has given him the business. That won’t change next year in the Big Ten but McGary seems to be in a better state of mind to handle the attention.
“Since he dropped he’s been great,” Smith said. “Four out of the last six games he’s had double-doubles. He’s changed his name from Mitch “No. 2” McGary back to Mitch McGary.”
You’re constantly evaluating the player and how he responds to adversity or changes in his basketball life. It’s good to see that McGary is tackling this one head on.