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.
Ohio State has capitalized on its close relationship with NBA superstar LeBron James over the years and now has a new shoe display that should come in handy during recruiting.
The Buckeyes put out a tweet late this week with the display, calling themselves “THE LeBron school.” While this is something small, recruits like that the Buckeyes are tied into the best player in the world and it’s cool to them that Ohio State gets some exclusive gear.
Rutgers has struggled to achieve success on the floor the last few years and head coach Eddie Jordan is hoping that some talented newcomers can help start a turnaround. With the start of practice, local media saw some of the Scarlet Knights’ early practice and Jerry Carino of the Asbury Park Press noted that the duo of freshman point guard Corey Sanders and junior college forward Deshawn Freeman were getting a lot of burn together.
With both incoming players being four-star prospects, it’s hardly a surprise that Jordan would see what the two were capable of. According to Carino, it meant a lot of Sanders driving and forcing the defense to collapse before finding Freeman.
“It seems like coach always has us on the same team,” Freeman said to Carino. “Ever since we’ve gotten here, he’s trying to get us to play together.”
Carino also notes that since Rutgers is deeper, longer and more athletic in general this season, the team could do more with a pressing defense to help create turnovers.
While Rutgers still faces an uphill climb in the Big Ten, they at least have some exciting pieces that will be in place for a few seasons.