Christian Dawkins, the director of Dorian's Pride AAU squad, has seen McCune develop from a freshman "that wasn't very good" to a rising senior with NBA potential. Of course any coach can be expected to give his players glowing reviews, but the all-around skills of Tommie McCune back up Dawkins' statements.
A lanky wing player with the span and reach coveted by WVU head coach Bob Huggins, McCune isn't just an athlete that can cover the floor. He has a wide range of basketball skills, honed through play at different positions, that could allow him to be a multi-positional player at West Virginia.
Although McCune projects as a three at West Virginia, he plays in the post for Saginaw High School and at times for his AAU team, which has given him valuable experience at different positions.
"He's very long and athletic, but he does a lot of things," Dawkins explained. "He can shoot the three, and his mid-range game is very good. He's an excellent passer out of the high post, and he can score. I think he's a Top 50 or Top 75 player in the country, and I think he has the chance to be a first round NBA pick – and that's not me being biased."
Tall praise, of course, for a guy entering his senior year of high school – especially for one that has advanced so quickly. After failing to impress as a freshman, McCune showed great improvement as a sophomore, then had a breakout junior season in which he averaged averaged a double-double with 22 points and 11 rebounds per game. Add in four assists and three blocked shots per outing, and the numbers to back up the "all-around performer" tag are evident.
While McCune worked hard to improve his game and individual skills, there as an even more important issue that helped him "flip the switch" according to Dawkins.
"He became more assertive; more aggressive. He learned about consistent effort, and he just got better overall. Once he got an offer, that really flipped the switch for him."
Among McCune's noticeable outings was a 45-point outburst against Virginia Assault in AAU play. That, along with the improved work ethic, caused a number of teams to take notice and offer scholarships. Dayton, Rhode Island, Baylor, Providence, USC, Minnesota, USF, Cincinnati and Xavier, along with West Virginia, were among the schools making offers.
As with most high schoolers, plenty of room for improvement remains, and Dawkins shows that he's realistic about his AAU charge.
"Like everyone out of high school, he needs to get stronger. He needs to work on his left hand more, and get better on defense. He also needs to be more consistent in the way he shoots his jumper. Sometimes he jumps too high, so he needs to work on that and shoot in the same way every time. But I think that with Huggs and his staff to develop him, he can be a first-rounder in the NBA. He's being compared to a Devin Ebanks with more skill."
BlueGoldNews.com will have more from McCune later today.