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Posted on Mon, Aug 29, 2011 : 5:58 a.m.

Michigan basketball recruit Mitch McGary: 4 things you may not know

By Nick Baumgardner

By now, anyone who knows anything about college basketball knows Mitch McGary can play.

At 6-foot-10 and 250 pounds, the Chesterton, Ind., native and Brewster Academy (N.H.) power forward was already a hot name inside the recruiting world before the summer began -- but now he’s seemingly everywhere.

McGary, who will make his first official college visit to Michigan on Sept. 3, has his own blog at, he’s a Twitter powerhouse and he’s toward the top of every popular recruiting service in the country. He’s ESPN’s top-rated power forward,’s third-best player overall and’s fifth-best player overall.

He’s so good, in fact, that a recent report pondered the idea of McGary, who will actually be 20 next June, just skipping the whole college thing altogether.


Brewster Academy forward Mitch McGary is currently one of the hottest names in college basketball recruiting. He'll make an official visit to Michigan on Sept. 3.

Photo courtesy of Brewster Academy

Life’s moving fast for McGary, but according to Brewster coach Jason Smith, the big man with the soft touch is still just trying to be a kid.

As one of the country’s hottest basketball prospects begins his journey to a decision, here are a few things about him you may not know.

He means no disrespect

“Unlike a lot of kids that really enjoy the recruiting process and get caught up in it, Mitch is, frankly, the complete opposite,” Smith said. “Up until the last few weeks my phone was ringing non-stop from coaches panicking because they would leave Mitch a voicemail message and wouldn’t hear anything back. And that wasn’t Mitch being disrespectful, it was Mitch not really wanting to devote 10 hours a day talking with college coaches.

“He was really more looking forward to being a kid for the last summer that he had the chance to be one. He spent last year in boarding school away from all of his childhood friends, he got to spend some time (this summer) at home and when he was there, he would rather go to the beach with friends rather than sit at home and talk with coaches every single day.”

His in-classroom performance has grown just as much as his game

“Mitch does very well here academically. He came in with a reputation of not doing well academically,” Smith said. “But I think that was a case where he was at a large public school and he has attention deficit disorder. And we have a support system and academic support available to students who would benefit from that -- whether it be attention deficit or dyslexia or what have you. The largest class size he had here last year was probably 10 or 11 students.

“I think the ultimate reason why he’s done so well here, though, is because he’s a tremendous self-advocate. He communicates very well on campus with his teachers and if he needs extra help, he gets it. He’s going to tutorials with peers and I think if he feels like he needs extra time or assistance with something, then he takes advantage of those resources.”

He can handle the attention

“He saw (the whole recruiting process play out) last year where eight of his teammates went Division I,” Smith said. “The life at a boarding school is extremely structured and their entire day is planned out. He saw how kids were able to handle school visits with college coaches, study hall, meeting with academic advisors, lifting, training and all that stuff. We’ve provided advice here or there, but for the most part, he’s been able to handle all of it himself.”

He has an open mind about where he'll end up

“It’s the whole spectrum for him -- what’s the campus like, what’s his relationship with the staff like, the style of play, the overall feel when he’s on those visits for 48 hours,” Smith said. “I think he’s definitely going to take at least three official visits. Maybe he takes all of them, but in my 12 years at Brewster we’ve had maybe one or two kids that have taken all five.”

Nick Baumgardner covers Michigan basketball for He can be reached at 734-623-2514, by email at and followed on Twitter @nickbaumgardner.


Joe Derringer

Tue, Aug 30, 2011 : 1:07 p.m.

Mitch is a great kid with a great future. I think Michigan, Arizona, Texas, and Kansas are all good possibilities, but I think Kentucky is head and shoulders above the rest when it comes to this particular talent. Calipari did an amazing job developing Josh Harrellson, a similar sized player, and sending him to the pros. But, beyond the solid program that Kentucky has, players seem to have more fun there. I think college basketball should be fun for these kids. Can you imagine a player wanting to turn down a first round, top 10 pick in the NBA? That is what happened to Cousins and Wall last year. Neither player wanted to leave Kentucky. Terrence Jones did turn down a top 10 pick in order to stay at Kentucky for one more year. I cannot think of any program that can make that claim. These players love playing there!! Kentucky is special.


Mon, Aug 29, 2011 : 6:30 p.m.

This kid will need at least three years to season at the college level. He may not come to M but guarantee, he will enroll in college somewhere


Mon, Aug 29, 2011 : 3:44 p.m.

10dz. Did he tell you "he wants to be showcased that way." That is not at all what I see when he plays AAU ball. He is a very good team player and seems to enjoy it that way. He has repeatedly stated that he wants to experience the college scene. Has become serious about his studies. Has stated he wants a four year degree. To me that translates to at least two years of college ball towards that degree, if not more. Now, once they start flashing all that money in front of him, the chances of him playing four years of college ball are extremenly slim. His AAU team had two of Michigan's recruits on it. Incoming freshman Josh Bielfeldt, and 2012 recruit Glen Robinson III. He and Robinson are very tight. I like Michigan's chances as well as any other college.


Mon, Aug 29, 2011 : 2:42 p.m.

I"m not sure he will play for Michigan in a team oriented system. This kid is a pro right now and he wants to be showcased that way. If he goes to college, he is one and done. I'm not sure he would be worth the long term investment for Michigan. He may come and disrupt a program more than he helps it.

Nick Baumgardner

Tue, Aug 30, 2011 : 1:43 a.m.

Carmelo Anthony – typo on my part.

Nick Baumgardner

Tue, Aug 30, 2011 : 12:58 a.m.

I think what 10dz is trying to say (and correct me if I'm wrong), is that there is a certain level of risk with one and done-type prospects. There have obviously been instances in the past where players enter a system, stay for one year and disrupt the program's flow. However, there have also been plenty of cases where players enter, stay for one year, and leave the program in better shape than they found it. John Wall, Brandon Knight, Carmello Anthony, etc. From all reports thus far on McGary, he's done a nice job of heading to a new school at Brewster and fitting in – not just on the floor, but in the school's community as well. With a player that good – he generally helps more than he hurts. One interesting thing John Beilein told me the other day with regard to one and done players was using the NCAA baseball model for basketball. Meaning that players can be drafted out of high school, choose to sign or go to school. If they sign, they're done. If they go to school, they can't be drafted again until after their junior year. Seems like a good idea. Anyone agree? Disagree?


Mon, Aug 29, 2011 : 4:53 p.m.

you really need to rethink that.. when is the last time we've won a bigtenchampionship? we need all the players we can get----especially a big man. if all we get is a year, then that will be an exciting year. i'll help roll out the red carpet.


Mon, Aug 29, 2011 : 3:59 p.m.

I'd be willing to make a wager that Michigan would be much better off with McGary for a year or two than without. Also, just because someone is good does not make them a bad team player, where are you getting this stuff?


Mon, Aug 29, 2011 : 12:28 p.m.

From all I've read and heard, what's really amazing about McGary is how fast he's developed into a top 5 recruit. Last year at this time, he was not considered to be anywhere near this level. I think if Michigan were to be lucky enough to have him come here, we can hope for 2 years before he goes pro. But, that would be enough for him and Michigan to accomplish big things IMO. He's the last piece of the puzzle to complete the Beilein system of players. Mitch McGary, c'mon down to Ann Arbor!