in his hotel room in Atlanta, Mitch McGary had a chance to reflect.
junior year I remember playing at Hammond Gavit,” McGary laughed. “Now
I’m playing in the Final Four. I have so many memories of playing at
Chesterton and how I’ve grown up as a person since then.
never thought four years later I’d be playing like this on a team like
Saturday night when the Chesterton native takes the floor against Syracuse
he’ll realize a childhood dream.
kid growing up watches March Madness and picks a Final Four in the
bracket,” McGary said. “It’s so surreal to be here. I dreamed about
this and I told everybody I was going to Michigan to win a National
more wins and that’s what it’s all about.”
hasn’t forgotten where he’s from thanks to Northwest Indiana friends
Glenn Robinson III (Lake Central) and Spike Albrecht (Crown Point).
awesome to have those guys around,” McGary said. “They’re my best
friends. I came here a lot because Glenn was going too. Having Spike here
is the cherry on top.”
the trio wasn’t shy about representing the region together.
used to scrimmage as a trio against some guys sometime,” McGary said.
“Glenn and I have a lot of late night games in the gym. He wins a lot,
but I’m working on trying to get to him. It’s tough and intense and it’s
only making us better.”
getting better is what McGary has done over the course of the season.
lot of maturity and growth throughout the year,” McGary said. “The Big
10 season and school-work you have to stay focused all the time. I really
didn’t know much coming in as a freshman. But, I’ve lost about 20
pounds during the season.
last month and a half I feel better, more healthy and my endurance is
better. I can handle more minutes.”
extra minutes put McGary into the starting lineup and saw him post three
consecutive double-double’s to start the tournament.
focused the last 3-4 weeks has been the difference,” McGary said. “I
knew I needed to be a key for us if we wanted to make a run at this. I did
what I was told -- grab rebounds. Score when I can and being in this
system, I know my role.”
focused is something McGary really worked on and sometimes it was while
the season I’d have mental lapses and have to run for it,” McGary
said. “Probably the toughest thing was just being ready to play, with
footwork and where to be. Defense is different. You’ve got to help
sometimes and not help sometimes.”
knows there is still work to be done, not only this weekend, but in the
future in his own game.
endurance has to get better and I’ve got to shoot the ball better,”
McGary said. “Work on expanding my game in the perimeter and in the
post. I’m trying to simplify as much as I can. I just hope to keep
getting better as a player.”
also knows that the inevitable questions about his future will come, but
that’s still a ways away.
the future, I’d like to go pro someday whenever that day is,” McGary
said. “I’m just focused on this for now. I’m just out there having
fun. You’ll have to ask me about that stuff some other day.
grateful for the moment and I know it can be gone in a second.”