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September 20, 2011

Mitch McGary Open Gym Q and A

WOLFEBORO, N.H.--- Top five national prospect Mitch McGary returned recently to Brewster Academy, where he is looking win a national championship during his senior season.

During last week's Open Gym at Brewster, McGary was kind enough to take several minutes of his time to conduct an exclusive interview with Tar Heel Illustrated.

Below is our transcribed account of the video interview THI featured on the front page last week.

What are your goals for your senior year at Brewster?

I want to win a national championship. That's the ultimate goal. I want to make myself a better as a player, but also as a team, because it's a team game. Like I said, I'm all about the team, and I'll do whatever it takes.

I'd like to go undefeated. Last year we went 24-0 before losing. Hopefully this year we've got a maximum of 40 games, and we're trying to be 40-0 and win a national championship. That's the ultimate goal.

You've got a lot of talent around you this year.......

Yes sir, we do. My main man T.J. Warren from North Carolina, uncommitted. He's going to be a big help this year. He's a small forward, but he can probably play any position on the court. He's pretty tall, and he's got a good outside game, too.

How's your shoulder feeling?

It's doing good. As you can see, it's a little scarred. It got stitched up. I got stitches into my hand, my shoulder, and my neck. It's doing good. 37 stitches later, no harm done.

How long did you have to recover after injuring yourself out in California (on a dunk in the Elite 24)?

I was out a week and a half with this (the stitches), but I've been out for five weeks because of my ankle. I rolled it pretty bad in the last tournament of the AAU circuit, and I've just been out ever since. That's why I'm kind of out of shape. I'm not 'kind of' out of shape---I am out of shape. So I've got to get back in the groove of things, and hopefully help my team win.

What are you, 255, 260 (pounds) these days?

Yeah, 255 (pounds).

What do you feel is your ideal playing weight?

It doesn't matter to me. I can put on as much weight as I want. As long as I feel good. As long as it's good weight.

What do you have to do to get better this year as a basketball player?

I think just work ethic. Last year I kind of took some days off, I would say. My roommate last year Max Hooper---he's at Harvard now, a shooter---he taught me a lot last year on work ethic and how to prepare, and I'd like to model myself after that and just be the hardest worker on the court, on and off, in the classroom, and just be a good person.

You just did your whirlwind tour with Michigan, North Carolina, and Duke. What's it like? Do you feel like a rock star?

Not really. I just try to stay modest and just keep a good head on my shoulders. I don't want to get a big head. I mean, it's pretty neat to see the coaches and meeting very high-profile people, but on the same note, I'd just like to stay calm and just have a fun time and see what's the best fit for me.

You've got six schools you're looking at. You're obviously going to make five coaches pretty disappointed. Is that going to be easy telling those coaches?

No. I've built good relationships with all of them so far. So I don't know how I'm going to handle it. I don't even know which school I'm favoring right now. I don't have a top three or anything like that, or a top two.

I'm just going to play it by ear, weigh out all my options, go through them and see who best fits me.

Talk a little bit about your visit to North Carolina first. I'm sure they have their own unique sales approach. What did you learn about Carolina when you went on that visit?

Coach (Roy) Williams told me I would come in right away and be a big help to the team, because they don't have any bigs coming in. They have John Henson if he doesn't leave. (Tyler) Zeller is leaving for sure, because he's graduating. I could come in right away and help the team. I think that would be a good opportunity for me.

You've got a lot of Hall of Fame coaches and storied programs coming at you, but what might you get at North Carolina that you can't get anywhere else?

I mean, probably just playing with some of the top recruits in the nation. Carolina and Duke are two of the top three schools in the nation every year. Playing in the Smith Center would be pretty cool, too.

Can you visualize yourself playing in that Carolina offense?

Yeah, I try to with every school, just see what my options are and how they've used big men in the past---what they've done with them and how they've worked their game out and stuff like that.

What do you find appealing about the comparisons to Tyler Hansbrough with your work ethic?

Like I said in my blog, I met Tyler Hansbrough when I went on the visit. I'm going to try to work as hard as him, because I know he was one of the hardest workers in college basketball. I really liked him (at UNC) and I try to model my game after him a little bit. I just liked his work ethic.

At one point my motor was the same (as Hansbrough's). I've got to get that back up there.

What will come when you get back in shape, right?

Yeah, just getting back in shape is what I need to do.

Did Hansbrough offer any words of encouragement to you when you met him?

Not really. (He said) 'Just keep working, man,' and 'You've got a good future ahead of you.'

And Duke, what was their pitch to you?

I like Coach K. He seemed real cordial to me, and all the coaches did when I sat down and talked with them. They were just all about me getting on the team and having fun. I really enjoyed that. They're the only team that let me stay in the dorm on my (official) visit. So I really enjoyed that.

We know Michigan is another school you're interested in. What have the Wolverines brought to the table for you?

They (Michigan's coaches) told me I would come in and be a big part of their offense. They haven't had such a high (ranked) recruit like me in a while they told. So I think it would be a good opportunity for me to go in there and put some work in.

Is this is a business decision for you, or more of an emotional decision?

I think a little bit of both. It has to be a good fit for me, if I like the school or not, and overall what helps me in the future.

Brewster Academy seems like a really cool place to go to high school. Can you just talk about your experience being here?

It's been a great transition moving out here (to New Hampshire). Last year was my first year here. I had great roommates and a great team. We bonded like no other team I've ever known. We didn't have any fights or anything, so it was pretty much like the perfect team. We played hard on the court and fought on the court, but off the court, we were like brothers pretty much. So I thought that was good about last year.

We had an okay season. We lost three games, but in the end we didn't get it done. So this year hopefully we can get it done and still be brothers on and off the court, and get it done this year.

You got to play a lot of elite basketball this summer. Where are some of the areas you feel you progressed over the past several months?

I thought my motor was going good, and just my hustle. After points, diving for loose balls and just hustling after rebounds. And I would say my three-pointer and mid-range got a little better, and I think just encouraging my teammates and overall just being a good team player.

You've still got plenty of time to make your decision, but do you have any idea when you might want to get recruiting out of the way and commit?

I don't know. I have no clue.

And do you know of any other official visits at this point in time?

(I'll officially visit) Maryland, Kentucky, and Florida sometime soon.


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