My gut tells me Mitch McGary was coming back to Michigan for his junior year. It's a mute point, because McGary won't return. Instead, he is headed for the NBA, most likely as a second round pick, because he gave into temptation and smoked marijuana during the NCAA Tournament.
He was tested, and failed, and faced a one-year suspension. That made his decision easy.
Why did he do it? Why was it so important to smoke at this time of his career? With so much promise ahead of him, why is weed so important? Why is an athlete, who can play the role of leader, so easily influenced by others? Doesn't he realize the NCAA doesn't take kindly to this type of offense?
Whether you think it's right or wrong, fair or too strict, doesn't matter. The bottom line is, McGary knew what he was doing was wrong and he has to suffer the consequences. It's a bad decision and a selfish one.
I feel bad for his team and his coaches. His teammates have supported him in a very difficult time. McGary was struggling after his back surgery, missing his friends and the game he loved. He tried to play the role of "supporter," or "cheerleader," but that's not who he is.
He fights and scraps and plays. He doesn't watch. Because of the injury, it left him a little hollow. One might think that would make an athlete appreciate the sport he loves more, force him to work harder. But we all handle things differently.
Other Michigan players sensed this and told coaches they wanted McGary to dress in the NCAA Tournament, even though they knew he wouldn't play. Coaches spent countless hours working with him in the gym and weight room to regain his strength and the form that made so many watch him in awe during the 2013 NCAA Tournament run. Now, those players and coaches are left to answer for McGary, and are left with a big void to fill for the 2015 college basketball season.
Mitch McGary is 22-years-old. He's man, not a kid. He knows what's right and wrong. I'm not going to feel sorry for him.
Just because he smoked weed doesn't mean he's a bad guy. I like him a lot. He's personable, sincere and I truly believed he loved the experience of being a college student-athlete. But we all have choices. We make them every day of our lives and we need to own those decisions. And if they're the wrong choice, we need to learn from it.
Give McGary credit for owning this poor choice. While some would have just called a press conference and told the media, "I'm taking my talents to the next level and following my dream," McGary admitted to the mistake and said he was sorry.
Looks like he's already learned from this. I hope we all can.
[PODCAST] McGary to NBA Draft
Shep talks about the news that Mitch McGary has failed an NCAA drug test and will enter the NBA Draft, instead of facing a one-year suspension, and how it impacts the Wolverines next season.
Matt Shepard is the play-by-play voice of University of Michigan basketball, Eastern Michigan University football and the Detroit Lions television network. He can also be found on TV locally on Fox Sports Detroit and nationally on the Big Ten Network for college hockey and baseball.Learn more.