Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Mitch McGary enjoying Michigans Final Four run

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By TR HARLAN

Relaxing in his hotel room in Atlanta, Mitch McGary had a chance to reflect.

“My 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.

“I never thought four years later I’d be playing like this on a team like this.”

On Saturday night when the Chesterton native takes the floor against Syracuse he’ll realize a childhood dream.

“Every 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 Championship.

“Two more wins and that’s what it’s all about.”

McGary hasn’t forgotten where he’s from thanks to Northwest Indiana friends Glenn Robinson III (Lake Central) and Spike Albrecht (Crown Point).

“It’s 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.”

And the trio wasn’t shy about representing the region together.

“We 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.”

And getting better is what McGary has done over the course of the season.

“A 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.

“The last month and a half I feel better, more healthy and my endurance is better. I can handle more minutes.”

Those extra minutes put McGary into the starting lineup and saw him post three consecutive double-double’s to start the tournament.

“Staying 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.”

Staying focused is something McGary really worked on and sometimes it was while running laps.

“During 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.”

McGary knows there is still work to be done, not only this weekend, but in the future in his own game.

“My 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.”

McGary also knows that the inevitable questions about his future will come, but that’s still a ways away.

“In 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.

“I’m grateful for the moment and I know it can be gone in a second.”

 

 

 

4/4/2013