2011 Summer Breakout Player of the Year
McGary becomes one of circuit's most attractive prospects
Call Mitch McGary recession-proof.
While the Dow’s been circling in a downward spiral over the last four months, this 6-10, hyper-skilled power forward has watched his stock soar from a fringe top-100 player to one of 2012’s brightest stars.
McGary’s personal ascendency to the apex of his class and efforts in leading the previously unranked SYF Players to a top-10 finish in the Five-Star Top 25 warrants the distinction of our inaugural 2011 Summer Breakout Player of the Year.
And we’re not the only ones taking notice. McGary’s short list of schools looks like who’s who of perennial NCAA powerhouses: Florida, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Duke and North Carolina.
Not bad for a young man from Chesterton, Indiana, a town that claims only 13,068 people.
Seeking out premium competition and a stronger academic foundation, McGary prepped at Brewster Academy (Wolfeboro, N.H.) this past winter and posted solid numbers alongside the highly talented core of Markus Kennedy (Villanova), Jakarr Sampson (St. John’s), Naadir Tharpe (Kansas) and Deonte Burton (undecided).
But the Brewster bruiser's rise in the rankings really took off this spring, after posting dominant performances at the Pittsburgh Jam Fest, Jayhawk Invitational and adidas May Classic. McGary remained the talk of the town at NBPA Top 100 Camp, LeBron James Skills Academy and the NY2LA Summer Jam, where he led SYF Players to a 17U Platinum Division Championship.
ESPN lists McGary at No. 3 overall in the class of 2012 and No. 1 for his position. Scout.com has him at No. 3 overall and No. 2 at the center slot, while Rivals tabs McGary at No. 5 overall and the No. 3 PF in the nation. The consensus top-5 prospect leapfrogged more peers than anyone else in his class.
While McGary hasn't appeared on the ‘Big Board’ of projected 2012 NBA picks, he has been deemed Draft eligible and his name has been swirling around in articles related to skipping college altogether. The mere conversation of making the professional leap is a testament to McGary's breakout spring and summer performance.
And for that, we rate his stock as a 'strong buy.'
Other players receiving consideration:
Dominic Artis (Oakland Soldiers)
Last year at this time his highest offer was from Nevada. Now, the top point guard on the west coast is a UCLA commit. He helped the Oakland Soldiers and their three five-star rated players stay in the Top 5 for most of the season and appeared at the Pangos All-American camp.
Jaylen Brantley (BABC)
With so much talent around him, it was easy to overlook Brantley. But when Peach Jam started, Brantley dominated. He was the leading scorer at the event and scored 24 points in BABC's title game win over Memphis YOMCA.
Sam Dekker (Wisconsin Playground Warriors)
Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan didn’t have to look far to find a versatile forward with a polished offensive game. The Sheboygan, Wisconsin native’s breakout summer included an impressive display at adidas Super 64, where he showcased his jump shot and handle against the best players on the circuit.
Kris Dunn (CBC)
Like Artis, Dunn did not have an offer from a major school until recently. But after a summer of playing next to Andre Drummond, Dunn is one of the most coveted players in the northeast. He is currently fielding offers from Providence, Boston College, Rhode Island, Harvard and National Champion UConn.
Javan Felix (New Orleans Elite)
It’s no secret why the Texas commit was one of the most sought-after point guards in the country. Felix led New Orleans Elite this season with a high basketball IQ and a strong passing ability. He even showed a knack for scoring at adidas Super 64.
Buddy Hield (Kansas Pray and Play Players)
Hield is being hounded by schools around the Big XII, and with good reason. The shooting guard from Kansas enjoyed a break-out summer this year, when he showed that he could score from anywhere on the court. The three-point shooter boasts a nice mid-range game and can also finish inside. Oh, and his 3.8 GPA isn’t bad either.
Kasey Hill (Florida Rams — Black)
Before the summer started, not only was Hill not on the national radar, but his entire team was relatively unknown. Then came the adidas Invitational. En route to a shocking tournament championship, Hill led the Rams, causing program director Matt Ramker to call him "a consummate winner" and the "number one point guard in America."
Marcus Hunt (Georgia Stars)
The small forward will stay in state after this year to play for Georgia Tech. How did he get an offer from an ACC school? Hunt worked hard to stay in shape and has developed into a solid athlete. Though overshadowed by Alex Poythress and Tony Parker, Hunt was crucial to the Stars' success this season.
Alex Poythress (Georgia Stars)
Poythress is an athletic forward that can succeed in all aspects of the game. The 6-8 rising senior can play defense, hit the three and rebound. He has already seen offers from top schools like Kentucky and Vanderbilt.
Award Criteria: Someone who was completely off the radar and burst onto the national scene OR someone who made the largest jump in the rankings.
Who's YOUR breakout player of the summer? Use the comments below to chime in.