“All of these guys are awesome players you know, it’s easier when you play with guys like this,” said Micah Downs. “On our high school teams we have to worry about doing almost everything getting rebounds, bringing the ball up sometimes and scoring. Out here you just do what comes natural to you.”
After hitting the gym and adding about 15 pounds, Downs has added some muscle but still needs to add more. Offensively he’s excelled cutting the cup and on the defensive side of the ball he’s gotten tested. Because of the way his team breaks down he’s had to guard guys like his McDonald’s roommate 5-11 PG Byron Eaton and ultra quick 6-3 combo guard Monta Ellis, guys that are a little out of his usual comfort zone.
“I’ll guard whoever, I’ve been working hard on my defense,” said Downs of guarding the smaller quicker guards. “I kind of like that it makes me work hard.”
Of course participating in the McDonald’s game has only been enhanced by playing with Mario Chalmers and Julian Wright. The trio has looked for each other on the court and has spent as much time together off the court as possible and according to Downs it has been a good time.
“It’s fun to get to know these guys better,” said Downs. “I know Mario pretty well because of over the summer time and our visit and stuff. I met Julian down at midnight madness and I’m getting to know him now, a fellow Jayhawk.”
Over the years the McDonald’s practices have also turned into an NBA meat market of sorts. During the winter Downs scared Jayhawk fans when he mentioned that he was interested in making a direct jump to the NBA. While he still thinks about the NBA often, Downs wants people to know that the story was blown out of proportion and that he’s focused on having a good time at McDonald’s and preparing himself for Kansas.
“It’s cool, I never really thought I’d have some NBA guys watching me play basketball,” said Downs. “Maybe they can see what I can do and come get me in a couple of years.”
“It was blown out of proportion a little bit. I just want to have fun in this game and keep getting better. If I do good in this game we’ll see what happens. Right now, I’m just focused on going down to Kansas and that’s what my plans are right now.”