An all-state standout at Riverside Academy in football and basketball, Herb McGee Jr. holds more than a dozen Division I scholarship offers.
McGee claims four schools — Louisiana, Tulane, Louisiana Tech and Southeastern Louisiana — have offered him to play both sports in college. The Class of 2016 recruit also reports offers from Richmond, UTEP, Oral Roberts and Loyola University New Orleans to play basketball and LSU, Arkansas, Mississippi State, Cincinnati, Utah, ULM, McNeese State and Nicholls State for football.
Those options leave the 6-foot-2 McGee, a guard on the hardwood and three-star receiver on the gridiron, with a big decision to make in the near future: Play both sports at the next level or just one.
“Right now I don’t know what I’m going to do,” McGee said. “I want to make a decision I will not regret and do what’s best for me and my future.”
McGee plans to narrow his list to five schools in October after talking with his family and will likely make a verbal commit in mid-January. The NCAA’s football signing period starts Feb. 3. The spring signing period for basketball is April 13 to May 18.
According to McGee, his current leaders are LSU, Louisiana Tech, Cincinnati and Richmond. He wants to take one of his five on-campus visits to LSU and has already taken unofficial trips to learn more about the Tigers and Ragin’ Cajuns as well as Houston, Mississippi State, Tulane and Southeastern Louisiana.
“It’s just a great environment there,” McGee said of LSU. “I was there for the Alabama game and saw how their fans love their players. It’s just different from all the other schools. I haven’t seen that anywhere else yet. I’ve built a great relationship with their coaches. It’s a top school. Having them offer you and being high on their board makes you want to achieve more and play there.”
Louisiana Tech has emerged as the current frontrunner out of the schools offering him for basketball and football.
“They’ve been consistent and showed that they really want me,” McGee said. “That’s a big thing for any type of player. It shows that I’m at the top of their list.”
Cincinnati also stands out because of its offensive philosophy on the football field.
“They’ve been persistent and more than anything they throw the ball more than they run it,” McGee said. “When you have a school that wants you to be their guy, you can’t go away from it. You know you’d have a chance to be their No. 1 guy and have a breakout freshman year.”
Richmond is McGee’s current leader if he plays only basketball in college.
“When I tell people about Richmond they ask if I’m willing to go that far away, but it’s not about only that,” McGee said. “It’s about going somewhere and playing and building a future for myself to provide for my family later in life. It’s about the relationship I have with their coaches. It’s bigger than just basketball. They send me Bible verses and let me know they also care about me as a person.”
McGee also shared positive comments about the recruiting efforts of the Ragin’ Cajuns and Tulane.
“For football, they’re coming up and reeling in guys because of that and it’s the same for basketball,” McGee said of the Cajuns. “In basketball they had Elfrid Payton and he did great things for their basketball program and now because of him that’s helped them get more guys. In football they had a good season last year and they have a nice atmosphere and their fans show their players a lot of love.”
This past season in basketball McGee was named the LSWA Class 2A player of the year after averaging 18.9 points, 7.3 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 3.8 steals per game as Riverside won its third consecutive state title. Playing this spring and summer for Louisiana Elite on the Under Armour Association circuit, he led the team in total assists and total steals and was second in assists per game (2.1) and steals per game (1.5) while adding 8.9 points a contest.
College coaches have plenty of reason to like McGee, a versatile and athletic guard who can score, shoot it and distribute the ball to his teammates.
“The main thing they tell me is they like my defense,” McGee said. “I take pride in my defense and they like that a lot. They also like that I’m a team-first guy, know how to play in transition, have some length and can shoot the ball.”
In football last season McGee earned all-state honors after catching 47 passes for 713 yards and 13 touchdowns. He also rushed for 405 yards and two scores for a Riverside squad that made the LHSAA Division III state semifinals.
“Almost every college coach has told me when I catch the ball I’m able to make something happen with it,” he said. “They want me to play an inside/outside receiver because I can make plays. I’m long and run great routes, and they like my grades, too.”
McGee plans to weigh several factors before making his college decision in the near future.
“I’ll be looking for a school with good academics, a place where I can build a relationship with their coaches and get playing time,” he said. “That’s basically it. They’ll also need to have what I want to major in. I want to be a pediatrician later in life and open my own business. I’m also willing to leave home if I have to.”
Given the multiple stressors in his life, McGee looks forward to the day when he knows where he will be attending college and whether he’ll still be a two-sport athlete.
“I’ve just got to have patience with the process,” he said. “A lot of guys pick the wrong school and I don’t want to do that. Coaches from different schools call and I’ve got to make sure I’m attentive to my phone, then I have homework and practice and still have to remember our plays. It’s tough, but I have a great family and they’ve been with me through it all.”
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