After an impressive, and somewhat surprising Final Four run last year, the University of Michigan Wolverine men’s basketball team has lofty expectations for the 2013-2014 season.
With their star point guard, Trey Burke, in the NBA for this upcoming season, their sophomore power forward, Mitch McGary, has been getting a lot of attention in Ann Arbor.
USA Today and Sporting News named McGary, Chesterton, Ind., sophomore, a first team preseason All-American. After his breakout performance in the NCAA Tournament last spring, this is not much of a surprise.
Despite the preseason accolades, many pundits question whether or not McGary will live up to the hype.
McGary was a big name high school basketball player, a four-star recruit who had the attention of other major basketball programs such as Florida, Duke, North Carolina and Kentucky.
When McGary arrived in Ann Arbor, he was overweight and out of shape. Luckily, Michigan coach John Beilein did not need him to be a leader right away. One year later, the situation is very different.
In his second year on campus, players and fans are looking to McGary to lead the Wolverines to another successful season.
Last year, McGary saw a slow start to his season, usually coming off the bench as a sub for then Detroit redshirt senior, Jordan Morgan. As the season progressed, Morgan sustained an injury, which allowed McGary to see more minutes and come into his own.
Gradually, McGary became a threat for Michigan on both ends of the floor.
With an increased role on the team, McGary started performing like the four-star recruit that he was, and the Big Ten conference, along with the rest of the country, noticed.
In the NCAA Tournament, opposing coaches started planning their strategies with McGary in mind.
McGary averaged 14.3 points and 10.7 rebounds per game in the Wolverines’ Final Four run. This included three double-doubles and highly efficient games against Virginia Common Wealth University and Kansas. In those games, McGary was 22/28 from the field, with 46 points and 28 rebounds.
Earning some legitimate time on the court, McGary proved to his critics that he was not only one of the best players on his team, but in the country. McGary runs on a high motor and has an impressive ability to rebound the ball, make steals and run the floor.
Many thought McGary would declare for the NBA Draft, where he was considered a lottery pick.
Instead, he decided to return for his sophomore campaign season, where he and Glenn Robinson III will be the two main leaders on and off the court.
This year he will be a part of the starting line-up right off the bat and is expected to deliver.
McGary knows what he needs to do in order to perform at his highest level.
This summer McGary worked hard to improve his game, mainly working on his mid-range jumper and post moves.He also attended the LeBron James and the Amare Stoudamire skill camps where he played with some of the best young talent in the nation.
He was an unstoppable force at times, especially against quality teams. He’s shown us his motor isn’t willing to stop, and he is eager to put in the work to better himself.
McGary deserves to be a preseason All-American. He has the opportunity to be one of the best players in the nation and lead the Michigan Wolverines to another Final Four birth.
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