For Connor MacDougall, stardom proved elusive for many years. Heck, it still does prove elusive. The blue collar big man steadily rose from a mid-major big man into a high-major target, but even now he receives less acclaim than he merits.
MacDougall heard from Arizona State and Boston College early, toward the end of his sophomore year. He toured with the Arizona Magic Pump 'N Run during the 2012 summer, showcasing gradual and impressive improvement as a true big man capable of growing into the center position.
Herb Sendek and the Sun Devils had seen enough. They offered a scholarship and MacDougall returned the gesture by making a commitment early in his junior campaign.
He continued to float along somewhat quietly on the national radar, in part because he already had issued a college pledge and in part because he left Phoenix (Ariz.) Westwind Prep at midseason during the 2012-13 season.
But he enhanced his resume at this past June's Pangos All-American Camp. There, he battled against some of the country's top prospects and emerged as one of the most effective frontcourt performers in attendance.
MacDougall received clearance to suit up this season for Tempe (Ariz.) Corona del Sol, and he's set for a big senior year that will carry him to the hometown university.
A strong, no-nonsense style typifies MacDougall's game. He's very physical at 6-8, 230 pounds, using his strength and large-boned frame to bore through opponents. He's a tough rebounder on both ends and does a good job identifying opportunities for outlet passes.
In halfcourt offense, he sits down in the post aggressively and turns over either shoulder for either short turnaround jump shots or jump hooks with either hand. He consistently fights for position and should draw numerous fouls on opponents for ASU.
His passing also is solid from the high post, and he should become a reliable defender over time as he gains experience.
MacDougall runs okay but is hardly a leaper, and his overall athleticism will place him below that of many prominent Pac-12 big men. Also, at 6-8, he's slightly undersized for center even in today's smaller college game.
All that adds up to his sometimes struggling to finish in traffic, and he also doesn't project as a great shotblocker. And his offense, while capable, doesn't appear on track to make him a consistently big scorer.
There's nothing flashy about MacDougall and I wouldn't expect him to post sizeable stats anytime soon, but he'll plug a hole for four years and provide the Sun Devils an aggressive hard working big guy around whom they can fashion the offense and defense for multiple seasons.
His desire to compete against big names and with an underdog mentality also should serve him (and ASU) well, and don't be surprised if he cements ample playing time as a freshman.