Top recruit Mitch McGary picks Michigan basketball program
Mitch-igan basketball has its man.
Mitch McGary, the country's top-rated power forward and ESPN.com's second-ranked prospect for 2012, made his intentions official Thursday in a live ESPNU broadcast.
He'll play college basketball at Michigan.
The 6-foot-10, 250-pound McGary, wearing a dark suit jacket and a salmon shirt, chose Michigan over Duke and Florida. "I'm going to Ann Arbor, Michigan, to become a Wolverine," he said.A senior this season at Brewster Academy, a prep school in Wolfeboro, N.H., McGary joins Lake Central (Ind.) High School small forward Glenn Robinson III and St. Mark's (Mass.) shooting guard Nick Stauskas in coach John Beilein's 2012 recruiting class. Currently, Robinson III and Stauskas (both four-star prospects) are rated inside Rivals.com's top 80 for next season.
All players will have the opportunity to officially sign their national letters of intent on Wednesday (Nov. 9).
McGary said the main reason for his decision had to do with the comfort level he felt with Michigan coach John Beilein and his staff.
"I felt most comfortable being there and I trusted the coaches mostly out of any other coaching staff and I could talk to them about anything," McGary said during the broadcast. "I know they're on the rise again, and I feel like I can build that program up and make an impact my freshman year."
During the on-air interview, McGary said he wasn't sure whether or not he'd sign his letter of intent next week.
"I'm not sure at the moment, I'll have to talk it over with my parents," McGary said. "I think they'd like to be there when I sign, so I'm not really sure if I'm going to next week."
A native of Chesteron, Ind. (Michigan senior guard Zack Novak's hometown), McGary transferred to Brewster Academy prior to the 2010-11 basketball season.
A left-handed big man with the ability to run the floor, dominate the glass and knock down the open jump shot, McGary became one of the country's hottest prospects in the summer.
"The lefty is a man in the lane and the other guys know it," ESPN senior basketball recruiting analyst Dave Telep wrote of McGary's performance in the NBA Top 100 camp in June. "He's a feared competitor who owns touch and has a passion for punking people at the rim. You play in rotations at camp but McGary begged to get double-shifted by his coaches.
"You want this guy on your team."
McGary's recruitment turned him into a minor Internet celebrity recently. He ran his own personal recruiting blog on ESPN.com. From August on, he had the collective attention of Michigan, Duke, Florida, Maryland, North Carolina and Kentucky before trimming his list to the Wolverines, Blue Devils and Gators.
With his commitment, he goes down as Michigan's highest-rated verbal since Pioneer High School's LaVell Blanchard (the 1999 Gatorade national player of the year).
The highest-rated prospect since Blanchard, McGary may well be Michigan basketball's most ballyhooed prospect since Chris Webber highlighted the Fab Five in 1991.
"(McGary's) a better prospect than LaVell Blanchard was," Telep told AnnArbor.com this week. "The program is set up now to where you can bring an impact player like McGary in and there's enough talent surrounding him to make a considerable difference and to raise the expectation level.
"Michigan has the structure of a really good team. And now if you take an elite player and throw it into the mix, everything becomes more competitive at practice. Expectations rise. The whole team has to adjust to a guy like McGary."
In McGary, Beilein has the biggest fish of his coaching career, and Michigan has its biggest recruit in decades.
What exactly are his plans for next season?
"I'd like to bring a national championship to Ann Arbor next year," he said.