AL HAMNIK: GR3, Mitch McGary, Branden Dawson need more college credit

2014-04-08T17:30:00Z 2014-06-09T15:25:05Z AL HAMNIK: GR3, Mitch McGary, Branden Dawson need more college creditAl Hamnik Times Columnist nwitimes.com
April 08, 2014 5:30 pm  • 

No one asked me, but our college stars Glenn Robinson III, Branden Dawson and Mitch McGary should wait another year before jumping to the NBA.

I cover the league, and they're not ready.

Another season with their respective teams, perennial Final Four contenders Michigan and Michigan State, will prepare them better than sitting on an NBA bench.

Take the acrobatic Dawson, Michigan State's No. 3 scorer at 11.2 points per game as a junior. He shot 61 percent from the field, a majority of his points coming in the paint on SportsCenter dunks and breakaways.

The former Lew Wallace star can't beat you consistently with the 15- to 17-foot jumper. He needs to be better than a 66 percent foul shooter.

Dawson has an NBA body at 6-foot-6, 225 pounds but will have a difficult time playing guard at the next level unless his ballhandling and outside shooting improve.

Another year of college will help.

MSU coach Tom Izzo refuses to use the term "rebuilding" when his program has gone to the NCAA tournament 17 consecutive seasons. Roles will change. Returning players must step up. Hear that, Branden?

Seniors Keith Appling and Adreian Payne are can't-miss draft picks, and sophomore guard/leading scorer Gary Harris may bolt, so that could influence Dawson's decision to split. It would be unfortunate.

As he does with each class, Izzo will use his trusted NBA sources to get an assessment that might help Harris and Dawson make their decision.

Dawson bounced back from a broken hand to play a major role in the Spartans' tourney run but struggled mightily against eventual champion UConn with five points on 1-of-3 shooting, three rebounds and three turnovers.

That's a red flag he must consider before coming out.

Michigan was 28-9 with no seniors. Pure shooter Nik Stauskas likely will pass on his junior year and enter the draft. This kid has GPS on his shot, from anywhere, but the core group remains intact.

With Chesterton's 6-10, 255-pound McGary and Lake Central grad Robinson returning for their junior year, plus deep threat Spike Albrecht of Crown Point, the Wolverines could be back in the title hunt.

Coach John Beilein is good enough to get them there.

Robinson was Michigan's second-leading scorer at 13.1 ppg, shot 49 percent from the field, 31 from beyond the arc, but had more turnovers than assists.

A very unselfish player, GR3 often deferred to teammates rather than taking the game over in crunch time. Whether that was he or Beilein, I don't know.

But at times, Robinson seemed to disappear.

McGary missed most of 2013-14 with back surgery and other than an outstanding freshman season as a late starter -- 7.5 ppg., 6.3 rpg. -- has no real body of work for NBA scouts to analyze.

Yes, he's big, strong, has a motor that never quits, but McGary needs to show consistency and dependability.

Is the back OK? Can he hold up an entire season?

Don't be just another big man chasing the money and simply filling an NBA roster spot.

Don't be Erik Murphy.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at al.hamnik@nwi.com.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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