Mitch McGary is a key fixture in a Michigan team that will have to replace consensus player of the year Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway, another first round pick from this summer’s draft. However, the sophomore forward has been sidelined day-to-day with a lower back issue since late September.
The 6-foot-10 McGary told ESPN College Basketball Insider Jeff Goodman that he isn’t concerned about his lower back condition.
“We’re just being cautious,” he told Goodman. “I’m hoping to get back on the court in the next couple of weeks, but we’re not rushing anything.”
McGary averaged 7.5 points and 6.3 rebounds per game in his first season in Ann Arbor, but those numbers jumped during the NCAA tournament, where he was a breakout star, averaging a double-double of 14.3 points and 10.8 rebounds a contest in the Wolverines’ march to the national championship game.
The Michigan big man is being projected as a preseason All-American, so an early-season injury isn’t a great start to his sophomore campaign, especially with NBA front offices keeping a close eye on the 21-year-old forward. McGary is listed as the No. 13 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft by DraftExpress.com. A source informed Goodman that McGary is dealing with an injury that could cause problems at some point during the season. McGary also told ESPN that he wants to be playing, “in Big Ten play, when it matters.” And for head coach John Beilein he won’t rush back his starter forward until he’s “pain free.”
Michigan opens the season on Friday, Nov. 8 against UMass Lowell.
James Banks announced on Thursday that he has committed to Texas, joining Jacob Young in Shaka Smart’s first recruiting class as the head coach of the Longhorns.
Banks is an interesting prospect. A 6-foot-10 center from Georgia, Banks is a still-developing prospect that was recruited more on his potential than his immediate ability.
“James Banks emerged as a good low post prospect this spring and summer,” NBC Recruiting Analyst Scott Phillips said. “With a good set of hands, some offensive potential and a frame that can add weight, Banks is a nice upside grab for Texas.”
He’s probably a few years away from having a major impact in the Big 12, but he may not have that much time to develop. Cameron Ridley, Prince Ibeh and Conner Lamert all graduate after this season, meaning that Banks is going to have to contribute immediately when he sets foot on the Austin campus for the 2016-17 season.
Texas has three commitments in the Class of 2015. Smart convinced Kerwin Roach and Eric Davis to remain committed to the program when he took over for Rick Barnes while he landed a commitment from Tevin Mack, who pledged to Smart when he was at VCU.
Memphis just cannot catch a break.
It’s to the point where I almost feel bad for Josh Pastner.
Today, CBSSports.com reported that Kedren Johnson, a 6-foot-4 point guard that was on track towards being an all-SEC point guard at Vanderbilt, could end up missing the season due to a shoulder injury. If he can handle the pain he can avoid surgery and play with the injury, but at the very least, Johnson is going to be less than his best.
Johnson averaged 6.7 points and 2.7 assists last season for the Tigers. He sat out 2013-14 after leaving Vanderbilt and entered last season incredibly out of shape. There was hope that he would be able to make a bigger impact this season and help fill the void at the point guard spot.
This news comes on the heels of Memphis finding out that Jaylen Fisher is heading to UNLV. Who’s Jaylen Fisher? Well, he’s a point guard and top 40 recruit from Memphis that was Pastner’s No. 1 recruiting target that opted to leave the city for his college hoops instead of play for the Tigers.
That’s a bad sign, but not quite as bad as Memphis losing star center Austin Nichols — another local kid — to a transfer over the summer. Nichols transferred to Virginia.