AL HAMNIK: Mitch McGary's engine starting to regain its roar

2014-06-07T17:15:00Z 2014-07-07T19:30:15Z AL HAMNIK: Mitch McGary's engine starting to regain its roarAl Hamnik Times Columnist
June 07, 2014 5:15 pm  • 

You can't fake it or bluff your way through the NBA.

Watch the Heat and Spurs in this year's finals. That's the feverish level of talent and resolve found in an 82-game season and through the playoffs.

Every possession is a fist fight.

Two University of Michigan standouts from the region, Lake Central grad Glenn Robinson III and Chesterton's Mitch McGary, are certain to have their names called at the June 26 NBA draft, with GR3 likely to go low first round or early second.

McGary may have to wait a bit longer.

Robinson participated in last month's NBA Combine in Chicago and impressed many of the coaches, scouts and general managers there. McGary passed on the two-day workout to give his surgically-repaired back more time to heal.

He played only eight games last season before going under the knife.

GR3 was a media favorite that weekend with his contagious smile, warm personality, and genuine kid-like excitement over soon having a pro career.

League reps were hoping to see the 6-foot-10 McGary in action, while the large media turnout would've wanted to know about the back and his feelings on being suspended the entire 2014-15 season for flunking a random NCAA drug test last March.

McGary has graciously declined interview requests, referring them to Chicago agent Mark Bartelstein, who says his client is well on the road to a full recovery but will not speak publicly until after the draft.

"He's getting all his strength, his range of motion and his explosiveness back," Bartelstein said. "When he gets to the top of his game, we'll turn him loose for (pre-draft) workouts.

"There's been a lot of teams (interested). Everybody wants to see him."

Bartelstein has not yet decided on what teams McGary will audition for, or the exact number. But he considers the center/forward a sure-thing draft pick.

"He's a tremendous talent, a great kid," Bartelstein said. "I think he's going to have a long and successful NBA career. His work ethic is terrific. The meter is great.

"Mitch has great athleticism and is very skilled. It's hard to find a big (man) with that type of motor, that type of energy."

Bartelstein doesn't believe McGary testing positive for marijuana will hurt his draft chances and he's probably right. All it did was cement the decision to come out early and skip his junior and senior year.

"He owned up to it," Bartelstein said. "He acknowledged that he made a mistake and he feels bad about it. That helped show the type of character he has."

At the moment, McGary's agent wants him focused entirely on the night of June 26.

Bartelstein represents more than 30 NBA players, including the Bulls' Taj Gibson, Golden State's David Lee, Minnesota's Robbie Hummel (Valparaiso) and Orlando's E'Twaun Moore (E.C. Central).

The region could soon be adding two more players.

"I always thought Mitch was the kind of person who, no matter the outcome, will make the best of it," Robinson said of the suspension. "I've talked to him. He's in high spirits, and that's one thing I want to keep him at.

"I'm wishing him the best."

And if McGary could talk, the feeling would be mutual.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at

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