"Most people his age don't understand how hard you have to play at the next level to be successful." Smith said of his senior star. "He does."
McGary started the 2011 circuit in the spring as an intriguing prospect but quickly emerged as one of the best by being the most intense.
He has a big, strong frame, a nice handle and a natural scoring touch under the basket but McGary isn't a completely polished post player. He has just a handful of back-to-the basket moves and instead gets most of his points by throwing his body around. He faces up defenders and uses his quickness and strength to find -- and sometimes create -- angles for himself
"He's absolutely fearless," SYF Players coach Wayne Brumm said. "Champions aren't afraid of losing. That's what makes him a champion."
Brumm says McGary's intensity has some unconventional sources. In addition to having a big, strong rather to pass along his genes, McGary also has attention deficit disorder -- a condition which Brumm says keeps him incredibly active on and off the floor.
Brumm remembers a long car ride back from the Tournament of Champions in which McGary had a hard time sitting still. With a few hours left on the drive, Brumm looked in the rear view mirror and saw McGary's feet on the ceiling. The massive power forward was riding upside down in the van.
"I said ‘Mitch, you OK?'" Brumm recalled. "He said ‘I'm bored.'"
When you take that kind of a non-stop personality and set it to tracking down rebounds, the result is a pretty dominant basketball player. And that's exactly what McGary has been. What he lacks in technique -- boxing out, proper footwork -- he makes up for with effort.
"He's making plays because he's highly active," Brumm said. "Some players try to match his intensity but they fade. He never gets tired."
After an impressive summer filled with great performances, McGary might have best summed his attitude up last week in a play that would embarrass most.
At the Boost Mobile Elite 24 Midnight Run, McGary was once again in the middle of the action when a loose ball squirted down the baseline. Then, when McGary turned his head, the ball was tossed up to the middle of the lane and former Arizona Wildcat Derrick Williams caught the alley-oop and dunked ferociously over McGary.
McGary laughed about the sequence after the game and brushed it off -- neither of which surprised Brumm. The AAU coach says McGary gets dunked on more than most top prospects because he refuses to back down.
"The insecure kids are running (when someone goes up for a dunk). Mitch runs to it," Brumm, says. "He doesn't think it's embarrassing to try everything you can to stop someone (and fail). There's dignity in that."
While McGary was the on the wrong end of Williams' dunk last week, he's been the one dishing out the highlight jams most of the summer. In fact, Smith thought McGary's athleticism isn't fully appreciated unless you get to see him up close.
Most scouts admit that McGary can move -- getting easy baskets in transition and driving past defenders -- but Smith says he's gotten a chance to see the total package from the power forward when he plays other sports.
In addition to playing basketball, McGary plays on the school's club flag football team and -- at 6-foot-10 -- might even pitch for the Brewster baseball team this spring.
"He's a tremendous athlete," Smith said. "We've had a lot of freak athletes in our programs and he's definitely in the conversation as being one of the best."
Despite his quick ascent, McGary hasn't reached a plateau in his development. He has a great feel and touch inside -- sporting a half hook and a Sikma move -- but can still benefit from adding a few post moves to his repertoire.
Oddly enough, McGary's X-factor offensively might be his perimeter shooting, Brumm said. Before this summer McGary spent a lot of time on the perimeter and while his shot faded this summer, he's started working on it again recently.
"He hasn't shot the ball well recently but 18 months ago he just about made all the shots he took," Brumm said. "We're going to work on his shot. He's really an extraordinary shooter. I don't think people realize how good a shooter he's been."