McGee shows he's special even in defeat

Though the game didn't turn out as he had hoped against Louisville Trinity in the Louisville Scholastic Classic, 5-foot-11 Andre McGee showed about 1,500 University of Louisville fans why he's considered one of the nation's top point guard prospects.

Though the game didn't turn out as he had hoped, 5-foot-11 Andre McGee showed about 1,500 University of Louisville fans why he's considered one of the nation's top point guard prospects.

While his Canyon (CA) Springs team was outmatched against No. 1 Louisville Trinity and ultimately lost the game by a wide margin, McGee, who signed a national letter of intent with the Cardinals last November, did his best to make the game respectable.

McGee scored all of his team's points (15) in the first half. And though the game was never close and his teammates struggled against the Shamrock's swarming pressure defense, McGee still enjoyed playing before U of L fans for the first time.

"It was great," McGee said. "The support out here is great and so are the people. Kentucky is a basketball state and there's a lot of love out here. It's different in California."

McGee finished with 24 points, connecting on 4-of-11 three pointers. He also had two rebounds, two assists - a deceiving number considering his teammates missed numerous open looks created by his penetration and passing - and one rebound.

"He's the best point guard I've played against," Trinity point guard Zach Berry said. "He's gets his shots up whenever he wants and he hit a lot of them tonight. He's a really tough player - strong and he can shoot the ball."

McGee was equally impressed by Kentucky's best high school team.

I take my hat off to them," said McGee of the top-ranked Rocks. "They're a real good team and well coached. We tried to fight as hard as we can - and I told my teammates no matter what the score was to play hard - and try to make a good showing for the fans."

With U of L coach Rick Pitino and assistant Reggie Theus courtside, McGee knew what he had to do to impress his future coach.

"When he's there I know I have to step it up and play harder because he's watching everything," said McGee. "He's looking at my decision making and everything, so I try to just play smart."

Playing on a team that lacks scoring options, McGee is counted on to provide the offense. He hoisted up 19 shots on the night, making eight. McGee was also 4-of-8 from the line.

"I had some good looks and I was taking them," said McGee. "I tried to take good shots and luckily they were going down for me. I was looking for my teammates in the first half but unfortunately their shots weren't going down but I was still looking for them; I'm a point guard first."

And while he's criticized by some recruiting analysts because of the number of shots he takes - make no mistake - Andre McGee is a true point guard. He's just one, like former Cardinal standout Dejuan Wheat, who has a scoring mentality. He's got a great crossover to free himself and he's quite capable of beating his man off the dribble and getting into the lane. And he has the ability to create and find others once he draws the defense.

Sure, McGee isn't perfect, but he knows what he has to improve before next fall. And with Coach Pitino stating earlier this week that the 190-pounder will play a big role for the Cardinals next season, McGee is working hard to prepare himself.

"Just getting stronger and quicker," McGee said. "Conditioning is a real big thing."

"I've got to be ready," McGee added. "He recruited me [to come in and play right away]. Here in Louisville there's no time to grow up. So I've got to be mature as a freshman and that's what I'm getting ready for right now."

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