Now that Nik Stauskas and Glenn Robinson III have made it official in taking their talents to the NBA, the Michigan Wolverines are waiting to see what sophomore big man Mitch McGary decides to do, and he has a much more difficult one to make than his teammates did.
McGary lit up the 2013 NCAA Tournament after head coach John Beilein decided to unleash his freshman power forward. With his great performance en route to a National Championship game appearance, NBA scouts had him shooting up draft boards as a possible lottery pick.
He and Robinson decided to come back and polish up their skill sets in 2013-14.
Still touted as a potential 2014 NBA Draft lottery pick, McGary suffered a back injury that limited him to only eight games this season and he ultimately elected to have surgery and sit out the remainder of the year.
Following NBA mock drafts throughout the year, with each passing week that did not see McGary suiting up for the Wolverines, his stock declined. As of right now, he’s not rated as much more than a second-round pick, if drafted at all. So, the easy decision is to come back, right?
McGary is 21 years old, which is about the ripest age it gets in terms of NBA team’s interest in a player. Anything older than that, and teams start to shy away from players, for whatever reason.
He wants to play in the NBA, obviously. He tested the waters last season and decided to come back, and was poised for a breakout season this past year. While maintaining that he’s healthy, back injuries tend to linger, especially for a guy of his size.
When you enter a professional sports draft, teams are looking to make a million dollar investment in you. While he certainly has the skill set, imagine a scenario where he comes back to Michigan and gets injured again. That would almost derail his draft stock and really create an uphill battle for him.
Will teams invest in a post player going on 22-years-old with a history of back problems? Maybe, but not until way later in the draft.
If McGary’s goal is to develop as a basketball player, perhaps staying one more year in Ann Arbor would not be a bad thing. If he wants to go to the NBA, perhaps the time is now. Even with his low stock, teams would still be willing to take a flier on him somewhere in the second round if he is truly healthy.
In a scenario where Robinson decided to return to Michigan, this would likely be a lot easier of a decision to make for McGary. Those two are very close friends and have been through a lot with each other.
Does he stick around and get a degree as a backup plan, or does he take a chance on himself and attempt to realize his dream of playing in the NBA?
We should hear an announcement on what McGary decides to do soon, and he should take his time, as this is a crossroads in his young life. There is no doubt that this is a painfully difficult decision to make for him.