Michigan big man Mitch McGary is heading to the NBA a little earlier than he initially planned. After missing extensive action during the 2013-14 NCAA men’s basketball tournament, McGary had been looking forward to the possibility of returning for one more season to boost his draft stock. A failed drug test has forced his hand.
Per reports, McGary found out he had failed a random drug test for marijuana use soon after Michigan had been eliminated from March Madness. McGary himself admitted to smoking marijuana on one occasion, saying that he would normally turn down the drug when presented to him, but given the fact that he was injured and wasn’t going to play, he ultimately gave in.
“I always turned it down,” McGary told Yahoo Sports. “But that night I didn’t.”
McGary learned soon after that the NCAA has a strict one-year ban for first time offenders, and his decision of whether or not to return to school became an easy one. With McGary unable to suit up for the Wolverines until the 2015-16 college basketball season, he saw that he had no choice but to enter the 2014 NBA Draft.
While it’s an unfortunate occurrence that makes an injury-marred 2013-14 season even worse for McGary, the good news is that he enjoyed a fantastic 2012-13 campaign and has the tools to be a solid NBA player.
McGary was mostly revealed as a legit NBA prospect during Michigan’s run to the Final Four during the 2013 season, as he exhibited excellent size and strength, while constantly playing with elite energy. McGary isn’t a prospect with an amazing skill-set or eye-popping athleticism, but he runs the floor extremely well, has the size and versatility to play the four and five at the next level and is a relentless worked on both ends of the court.
Coming out and admitting his mistake only adds to McGary’s character, as well, as he’s seen as a team first guy and gives his all on the court. McGary is likely an early second rounder at this point, but he still has some untapped potential and could work his way into the first round of the 2014 NBA Draft with some good workouts.