Before Labor Day weekend, McGhee thought he had time. He had planned to take visits to Penn State, Miami, Davidson, and Kent State over the next month. Miami had only one commitment (Orlando Williams) and another four scholarships out there for the taking.
Then Thursday night at the Miami-Vanderbilt football game, the avalanche of commitments began. First it was Allen Roberts who committed that night. Then Drew Kelly made the call Saturday night. Late Sunday night Mark Anderson joined in.
By Tuesday afternoon, McGhee was shocked to find out Miami was down to just one. McGhee said, "I realized I needed to make my decision a lot sooner than planned."
There was no guarantee that Miami still had room for McGhee. In the 2009-10 season, Miami will only have three ballhandlers on the roster: a sophomore (Kramer Soderberg) and two incoming freshman (Roberts, Williams). Miami will be thin and inexperienced. With the risk of injuries possible, that last scholarship may have gone to a junior college guard, likely a point guard. Getting a ballhandler seemed to be the "obvious need."
Sometimes filling the "obvious need" is not as important as getting the best player available. Years ago former Indiana head coach Bob Knight told a friend from the Portland Trailblazers to draft Michael Jordan after coaching Jordan during the 1984 Olympic team. His friend replied, "But we need a center." Knight responded, "So draft Jordan and play him at center." The Trailblazers took center Sam Bowie with the first pick of the draft. The Chicago Bulls had the second pick and the rest is history.
McGhee is a very special player. McGhee has been one of Miami's most important recruiting targets this year. He is one of the top two centers in the Ohio class of 2009. Like MJ, he is a "must have" player regardless of the perceived obvious need. For that reason, Miami decided to make a leap of faith and keep the scholarship open for him. Bob Knight would be proud.
Throughout Tuesday and Wednesday, McGhee did a lot of talking. McGhee said, "I talked to a lot of people who have influenced me like family, friends, and coaches. I also did some thinking to myself."
McGhee added that he talked to his varsity coach about what to do. His coach asked him, "Where would you feel more comfortable in college?" McGhee responded, "Miami." Then his coach asked, "Where do you feel you would make the most friends?" McGhee again responded, "Miami." The coach said, "Then I guess you have your answer."
Late Wednesday night, McGhee told the Miami staff that he wants to be a RedHawk. McGhee said, "I am excited to be a RedHawk. I am now relieved to have this off my back and I can focus on my senior year."
McGhee is completely stoked about being part of one of the best recruiting classes in the history of Miami University basketball. "This recruiting class is ridiculous. We are going to be good. I looked up all the guys. You got the junior college guy (Anderson) who led the nation in scoring, the real big guy from Tennessee (Kelly) who is the number two player in the state, and the two good guards (Roberts, Williams) are stacked."
McGhee said the Miami coaches were very pleased with the recruiting haul. McGhee explained, "They said this could be the best recruiting class of all midmajors in the nation and one of the best at Miami."
McGhee said he loves Miami. Specifically, he said, "It is an amazing campus. Good people. Everything is great. Close to home. It is a place I feel real comfortable at."
During his junior season at North Ridgeville, he averaged 17 points, 13 rebounds, and a very impressive 6 blocks per game.
What sets the 6'10, 210 pound McGhee apart is his ability to get up and down the floor, something not often seen with centers in the MAC or even in BCS conferences. When McGhee spoke with RedHawk Insider in June, he said "I have been told that I run the court well." McGhee added that he also has been told he has good foot work and is "good with both hands."
When RedHawk Insider spoke to McGhee in earlier stories, he gave the following list of schools recruiting him: All of the MAC, Davidson, Stanford, Georgia Tech, Notre Dame, Marquette, Minnesota, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Baylor, Butler, Providence, and St. Louis.
Last month, McGhee listed five schools that are recruiting him the hardest: Penn State, Miami (OH), Butler, Kent, and Davidson. "Miami has been pretty much at every game I have played. And also Penn State. Those are the only ones I noticed."
McGhee had narrowed down it down to Miami, Penn State, Kent, and Davidson. In the end, the real choice came down to Penn State or Miami. McGhee said, "Kent, Penn State, and Davidson are wonderful schools, but I thought I fit best at Penn State and Miami. Penn State is a good, amazing school. I just felt more at home at Miami."
So how will McGhee be used? McGhee said, "The coaches said nothing will be given to me. I am going to work my butt off. The coaches showed me how they used Tim Pollitz and got him open in the post."
Finally, McGhee noted that everyone in his family was excited for him. "I am excited. My dad is excited. My mom was crying because I am one step closer to leaving home." Mom should be rest assured that he will be in good hands with the Miami family, and this outstanding recruiting class.