Heading into this year's NCAA Tournament, Michigan big man Mitch McGary had gone through a rather nondescript freshman campaign. But since being inserted into the starting lineup for the tournament, McGary has broken out, and now he's getting plenty of buzz leading up to the 2013 NBA Draft.
SNY.tv's Adam Zagoria talked to several scouts who have watched McGary in the tournament, and there's one who thinks that the big man would be a sure-fire first-round pick if he came out this year:
"Since he started playing in the NCAA tourney he's gone from a bench warmer to a first-round pick," one veteran NBA scout told SNY.tv. "He was outstanding in Auburn Hills."
McGary has said that he will be returning next season, although he could of course change his mind once his season finally comes to an end after the national championship game.
Another scout said McGary is the main reason that Michigan will be playing in the championship game against Louisville on Monday night and that he should strongly consider coming out. Looking at the numbers, it's hard to argue that point. The freshman is averaging 16.0 points and 11.6 boards in the tournament, with his consistent energy providing a huge boost to the Wolverines.
So what should McGary do?
It's hard to imagine McGary's stock getting much higher than it is now, and considering this draft is rather weak, he may be better off coming out. It's also worth nothing that he's old for a freshman at 20 years old, so he may want to come out as soon as possible.
On the other hand, McGary could return to school and be considered one of the top two big men in next year's draft along with Kentucky's Willie Cauley-Stein. DraftExpress currently has McGary going No. 9 in their 2014 Mock Draft, which is impressive considering the presumed strength of that draft class.
A lot could hinge on Monday night's national title game. If McGary puts forth another big performance and Michigan wins, maybe he will feel more inclined to take advantage of that soaring draft stock and enter the draft. But if he struggles and the Wolverines lose, perhaps he will want to come back, work on his game more and try to lead Michigan on another deep run next year.