Not only does Texas Tech have a new men’s basketball coach, but will also have a virtually new roster for 2016-17. Beard’s makeover, which commenced with the signing of JUCO All American Niem Stevenson, and continued with the addition of Anthony Livingston, Shadell Millinghaus and Brandone Francis, continues with the addition of graduate transfer Giovanni McLean.
The 6-foot-1 195-pound Bronx, New York native played junior college ball at Moberly and Westchester Community Colleges, committed to Lon Kruger’s Oklahoma Sooners, then decommitted, eventually playing his Division One basketball at Quinnipiac of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
Last season as a senior, McLean was the most effective player on a poor basketball team. He led the Bobcats in scoring at 13 points per contest. He also pulled down five rebounds and dished out three assists per outing. McLean shot 33 percent from 3-point distance and 78 percent from the line. He only connected on 36 percent of his shots from the field, but playing for a team with few offensive options meant McLean was likely the primary focus of the opposition’s defense. Playing for a Red Raider squad positively bedecked with scoring threats, McLean will find himself freed up for open shots more than he ever was at Quinnipiac.
Prior to his days at Quinnipiac, injuries and transcript complications prevented McLean's basketball career from really taking off. Consequently, his path, ultimately to Texas Tech, was a bit unorthodox. Rather than pursue the busy AAU superhighway, McLean established his basketball reputation in the rough New York playground scene in places like Dyckman and Rucker Park, where his stature grew to well nigh legendary scale. He was christened “No Batteries Included” because of his relentless style of play.
So it’s clear that Chris Beard has brought in a hustler and a high-energy performer. But McLean is more than that.
The stocky guard, who can play either the one or the two, is a very savvy basketball player. He certainly won’t be the quickest or the fastest guard in the Big 12, but McLean is a player who knows all the little tricks to make himself effective. He makes excellent use of the jab-step to create separation on the perimeter, and can exploit that breathing room by knocking down deep jumpers on the wings. Despite McLean’s modest shooting percentage as a senior at Quinnipiac, his stroke looks solid and confident.
McLean also has a nice fade-away jumper at mid-range, and with his strong frame, scores through contact.
But one of the most impressive things about McLean is his rebounding. Few 6-foot-1 players average five rebounds per game at the Division One level, but McLean did last season. That number suggests he is adept at getting to loose balls, uses his bulk and strength to wall off other players, and that he has the desire to compete with the big fellas inside.
All in all, Giovanni McLean may make his mark with intangibles and locker room presence, as much as with his formal game.