Michigan center Mitch McGary’s first two months as a Wolverine has been a learning process full of correctable mistakes and extra attention from the coaching staff working to get him up to speed. Thursday, that extra time, tweaks in the overall details of the game and further development of his body led McGary to the first double-double of his career --- 10 points, 11 rebounds --- in a 93-54 win over Eastern Michigan.
“I felt pretty good,” said McGary. “Just got up and down the court and was able to get some offensive rebounds and clean up the glass. Our guards found me when I was open and I was able to put the ball in the hole.”
“Lately we’ve just been putting a lot of pressure on footwork and cleaning up the glass and finishing.”
McGary’s energy off the bench was a huge boost for the Wolverines, providing extra opportunities for his teammates but also, as coach John Beilein noted, some excitement always seeming to come along with that.
“Things happen when Mitch gets the ball,” said Beilein. “Today, in the second half, there were a lot of good things happening when he was around the ball. Those energy rebounds he gets --- we preach that all the time about how rebounding, and it’s not an accurate stat, but people say its 25 percent ability and 75 percent effort.”
“He has that effort out there so that double-double was good for him and it’s a work in progress. But he’s got the attitude, he’s got the body to be very successful if he keeps going in this direction.”
McGary had several “energy plays” Thursday night including a few tip-ins offensively but also utilized his terrific basketball instincts defensively, to force two Eastern Michigan turnovers that led to points in the second half.
The role of being the first big man off the bench, often times the sixth man, is one McGary is relishing for 2nd ranked Michigan. In fact, as most people tend to forget, this role and his responsibility on the Wolverines is something the former Top-50 recruit is more than accustomed to.
“Last year and the year before I played on my prep school team and I came off the bench then,” said McGary. “I was our sixth man. So I came in and always had this high energy. I never really had it in early high school, but I picked it up going to prep school and just wanted to come off the bench and spark the team and give them a little boost of energy.”
The flashes of consistency and effectiveness out of McGary, as well as his constant work ethic, leaves Michigan sophomore point guard Trey Burke unsurprised by the freshman’s success against the Eagles.
“I knew it was coming just by the way he works in practice and the type of energy he brings to the game,” said Burke. “That’s just Mitch being Mitch. He’s going to have plenty more being here just because he’s so active on the boards and he’s so unselfish. He does what’s best for the team.”