Michigan forward Mitch McGary had the potential to become one of the best interior post players in college basketball next season, but he has decided to forgo his junior and senior seasons and declare for the NBA draft. Unlike others who have made the same decision, McGary was not in a hurry to start his professional career. A mistake forced his hand.
Late last season, McGary was randomly drug tested after sitting out several months with a back injury. He tested positive for marijuana and was suspended for a year per NCAA policy. Rather than sitting out his entire junior season, McGary has decided to leave Michigan early.
“It’s just with the NCAA and their strict rules, they don’t show any mercy,” McGary told Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports. “They take their things seriously.”
McGary said that he had previously passed eight drug tests during his two years at Michigan. He passed five this past season while he was unable to play because of his injury. Since the test he failed was administered by the NCAA and not the school, the penalty was much harsher.
“If it had been a Michigan test, I would’ve been suspended three games and possibly thought about coming back,” McGary said. “I don’t have the greatest circumstances to leave right now [due to the injury]. I feel I’m ready, but this pushed it overboard.
“I don’t think the penalty fits the crime. I think one year is overdoing it a little bit.”
McGary said he is disappointed in himself because “this is not who I am.” Michigan coach John Beilein echoed those sentiments, saying he was very surprised by the suspension. The 21-year-old said he had been having a few drinks with friends when he was offered some weed.
“I always turned it down,” he told Wetzel. “But that night I didn’t.”
Kids make mistakes. McGary made a huge one. He certainly could have used another year of college to prove he is healthy and can still be effective, but he doesn’t have that luxury anymore. Now, he simply must adjust accordingly.