In part two of our in depth question & answer session with Mitch McGary he discusses when he knew he was ready to commit to Michigan, his relationship with Glenn Robinson III, his future number in Ann Arbor and the best advice he’s ever received. Make sure to read part one here.
When you decided to go to Michigan, do you remember what exactly spurred your decision to commit?
“It’s difficult. Last summer, I think in August, I narrowed my list down to Michigan, North Carolina, Duke, Kentucky, Maryland and Florida. I told that to the press, but actually my main three were Florida, Michigan and Duke. At that point, when I took my visit to Michigan, I decided I wanted to go there. Unless Duke or North Carolina have something better than this, I might as well go there. But I didn’t think anything was better than Michigan. Just being on campus, meeting the coaching staff, the whole team, everything was great. I would say as soon as I took my visit, I knew I was going. I just wanted to wait it out a little bit. I’m happy I’m going there now.”
Obviously you and Glenn Robinson III are really good friends. Have you gotten to know other members of the 2012 class?
“Spike, or Mike, whatever you guys call him — his name’s Mike, but everyone’s calling him Spike, and I guess that’s what we’re going to call him now — he and Glenn and I all grew up playing against each other. Spike plays out in Massachusetts close to me and we played them during this year. When we had public school together, we played in the same conference along with Glenn. I remember in fourth and fifth grade, Spike was on Crown Point and I was on Chesterton for AAU our teams would always go at it and be the best two teams in the area. I just remember growing up, I never would have thought we’d both be on the same team going to Michigan. I know him pretty well. I’ve met Nik a couple times and he seems like a really good kid and an even better athlete. I’ve watched him play a few times and he’s something special. I’m happy we’re going to be on the same team together. He can really play. The newest commit, Caris, I’ve never met him. I watched a couple videos on him. He looks a little skinny to me, but that’s what college is for. He looks like a player.”
How much of an influence did Glenn play in your decision to come to Michigan?
“Glenn, to me, he wasn’t recruiting me. He would mention stuff about Michigan and he would say things like how excited he was to go and how happy he was to be committed. He didn’t recruit me, though, he was just being a great friend and that’s what I’ve always loved about Glenn. Nothing got between us during my recruitment. All throughout my recruitment we played on the same AAU team for three years and we were really great friends. I don’t know if there’s a better one-two duo, besides he and I, that I would rather play with. He’s probably one of my favorite players to play with and always will be. I think just knowing have someone there who’ll be by my side so we can always push each other, that was one of the key things.”
When did you move out East?
“That was the fall of 2010, so the start of my senior year.”
What went into that decision?
“If I had stayed in public school, I would have had to have gone to a prep school next year if I wanted to go D-I, or else I would have had to play Junior College for two years. At first my parents thought I should go after my senior year and stay at home for that year, but I wanted to get adapted and just be out here. I liked it at the start, but now it’s just kind of boring. Our team won the national championship this year and last year, we lost only three games all year. I’ve only lost four games here, so I’m glad I came out here. I’ve got my grades up, and now I’m qualified.”
How was the ball at Brewster different than the ball in Indiana?
“I don’t want to diss on my hometown, but just the intensity in practice was different. Basically, Brewster is like your freshman year of college. It’s like a redshirt season. Most of the players who come here are high-major prospects. so basically the intensity in practice is much higher than it was in my hometown public school. In games, I’m facing people like Andre Drummond and Nerlens Noel, all these high-profile players. It’s good to get exposure that way but it’s also good to play against tougher opponents and work on your game. I think it was better overall basketball-wise.”
Is there any NBA player who you try to emulate?
“A lot of people say I play like David Lee or Kevin Love, and I try to watch film on them and model my game after them. But my favorite player is Lamar Odom. I always try to be like him. I just have to get quicker and be a little more athletic and work on my handles, I guess. He was always my favorite player. I was kind of mad when he got traded to the Mavs, but what are you gonna do.”
Can you shoot 3’s like him?
“Well, nobody knew Kevin Love could shoot in college, and now in the NBA he’s shooting, like, 40 percent from beyond the arc. People don’t think I can, but that’s a good thing about my game. If you leave me open, I’m not going to say I’ll 100 percent knock it down, but I’ll take the shot. If I’m hitting, they have to step out on me and I’ll go right past them and do other things. I’ve been working on a few things and hopefully I can further my skills at Michigan.”
What went into your decision to wear number 4?
“My favorite numbers were 33 and 5. 33 has always been my favorite number, I always wore it in AAU and at Brewster. I always liked it because of Larry Bird, but Kareem wore it, Scottie Pippen wore it, a bunch of people wore it. That was taken because it was retired because it was Cazzie Russell’s number. They talked to him about doing a ceremony where he would give me the number, but we never really eased into it. My second choice was number 5, but a senior walk-on, Eso [Akunne] has it. I asked the coaches if he would let me wear it, but his mother wanted him to wear it and she had passed away and I respected that. I had talked to Glenn and Spike and they were going to wear 1 and 2, and with Trey Burke wearing number 3, I thought, well, Chris Webber wore it, why can’t I? I’m pretty excited about it. I’ve got some big shoes to fill.”
What’s your favorite movie?
“I’m a comedy guy, so I have to say Tommy Boy and Step Brothers. Chris Farley is hilarious.”
What was your favorite TV show growing up?
“ESPN, but everyone likes ESPN. Growing up, I used to like Spingebob a lot, Rugrats. I used to love Scooby-Doo as a kid.”
What kind of music do you listen to?
“I listen to everything pretty much, from alternative to rap. Not a lot of country. Usually before a game, something to get me hype. When I’m chillin’, something mellow, maybe some cool R&B or something, maybe a little country. Some T-Swift. Everyone loves Taylor Swift.”
Are you bringing any pre-game rituals to Michigan?
“Not really. Usually, I’m the hype man to my team and I get everyone pumped up, and I assume I’ll be that next year. If someone wants to be more hype than me, then so be it and that’s going to be awesome. But I’m pretty sure I’m going to be the most hype person on the team, getting everybody pumped. I’ve got a pretty crazy mentality when it comes to preparing for a game. I don’t do any special rituals. Maybe listen to some DMX, he’s my boy. ‘Where My Dogs At?,’ ‘X Gon Give It To Ya,’ to get pumped up. I translate that into getting my teammates pumped up. I just tell them to get ready for this game and we’re not going to lose because I hate to lose.”
Any idea of what you’ll study at Michigan?
“I’ve always liked finance. My mom has an accounting degree, and I’ve always liked math, so accounting could be something I like to do. I’ve always liked finance and I would love to be a financial adviser. As of right now, I’m not sure.”
When you’re not playing basketball, what are you most likely to be doing?
“I play a lot of Xbox.”
What do you play?
“Pretty much all of the Call of Duty’s, I play a lot of Need for Speed, racing games. Pretty much everything. It varies. I’ll play some 2K, here and there. I’m on my 2K right now. It’s boring out here, so I’ve got nothing else to do. Other than that, I usually just hang out with my friends or hang out with my girlfriend.”
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
“One of my coaches from when I was younger, he was one of the best coaches I’ve ever had. He would always try to knock me down. Not really, in the sense of telling me that I was bad, but he would tell me I couldn’t do stuff just to motivate me. Glenn feels the same way. I always say hater are my motivators. I know that sounds stupid, but I catch stuff on Twitter from people sometimes and I just tweet back and tell them thank you because that kind of thing really motivates me. I don’t mean to be a dick to them, but any time someone tells me I can’t do something, I just turn that negative energy into positive energy to drive me even more. The best thing someone could do is knock me down or criticize my game because that just means I’m gonna push even harder to prove them wrong.”