High-SchoolBoys-Basketball: Florida Gators

Final sales pitches for McGary

November, 2, 2011
11/02/11
1:43
AM ET
Related Link: McGary Blog: Ready To Decide

As the country waits to hear Mitch McGary announce where he’s decided to play college ball, recruits who are committed to his final three schools – Michigan, Duke and Florida – have decided to take one last stab at selling McGary on their future schools.

Makes sense since McGary told ESPNHS that, contrary to popular belief, he’s still undecided.

Here are the sales pitches:
Rasheed
Scott Kurtz/ESPNHSDuke recruit Rasheed Sulaimon thinks the Blue Devils are a no-brainer for Mitch McGary.
“Join the Evil Empire.”
Rasheed Sulaimon
, Strake Jesuit (Houston), 2012, SG
Committed to: Duke
“Mitch, you definitely need to be a Blue Devil because you're absolutely a Duke player. You fit into our style really well and with the guys we’ll have coming in we’ll be able to accomplish some really big things. I think we can win a national championship our freshman year with all of the talent that we’ll have on the team and compete for multiple titles after that. Also, Mitch, it doesn’t get better than playing for Coach K (Mike Krzyzewski). He’s the USA Basketball coach and he’s linked to every great basketball player in the NBA. Plus he’s about to be the all-time winningest coach in college basketball history. Who else can say that? Why wouldn’t you want to play for the best coach and the best program? Plus, the social life at Duke is great. We’ve got the most dedicated fans in the world. What are you waiting for?”

“Bring the Wolverines back to the Fab Five days.”
Glenn Robinson III
, Lake Central (St. John, Ind.), 2012, SF
Committed to: Michigan
“Mitch, please come to Michigan man. We’ve been playing together for years in AAU and we’ve combined to do big things on that level. I know we’ll only continue it in college. We’ll have a top five recruiting class and we’ll bring Michigan back to the Fab Five days. We’ll change the whole program around and bring them back to national title contenders if you come. Plus, Michigan is one of the most fun campuses in the country. All of the students are so supportive of the basketball program. All of the students know everything about you. You’ll get so much more attention here. We’ve got a great academic reputation, of course, and we’ve got some of the best looking girls in the country. Everything that you want and need is here at Michigan.”

“No-brainer to be a Gator.”
Braxton Ogbueze
, United Faith Christian Academy (Charlotte, N.C.), 2012, PG
Committed to: Florida
“Mitch, Florida is where you need to be because it’s a great fit for you. Coach (Billy) Donovan is the best coach that you can possibly be coached by. He knows how to work his guards and big men together perfectly and there’s no better place than Florida. Think about it, millions of people come to Florida every year for vacation so why wouldn’t you want to spend your college career here? It would be a smart decision to come here because you’ll get better and you’ll win and you’ll be in a great location around great people. Then you’ve got the great weather and the young ladies here are beautiful. Second to none.”

Jason Jordan is the basketball editor for ESPNHS. He can be reached at jason.x.jordan.-ND@espn.com. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter: @JayJayESPN

Mitch's Memos: D-Day looms

November, 2, 2011
11/02/11
1:42
AM ET
Mitch McGaryKelly Kline/ESPNHSESPNHS Student Blogger: Mitch McGary
Mitch McGary | Senior | Forward | Brewster Academy (Wolfeboro, N.H.)

Mitch McGary is the top-ranked power forward in the ESPNU 100. Headed into his senior season at Brewster Academy (Wolfeboro, N.H.), McGary has narrowed his list of colleges to Duke, Florida and Michigan. McGary has agreed to give ESPNHS exclusive access by chronicling his thoughts on everything from his recruitment to pop culture in a blog.

McGary Blog 1 | McGary Blog 2 | McGary Blog 3 | McGary Blog 4 | Recruits Give McGary A Final Sales Pitch

What’s up world, it’s your boy Mitch aka White Thunder, and I’m back, as promised, with a new blog entry before my big decision tomorrow on ESPNU.

First, before I even get to that, I’ve got to say that we had our first practice tonight and things went really well. I think we’ll have another great season. We’re ranked as the No. 1 prep school in the country in the preseason and I think we’ll have a chance to live up to that after seeing how hard the guys were going at today’s practice.

I want to let you guys in on exactly what I’m thinking right now as I get ready to decide and, honestly, right now I’m thinking about my final three schools -- Florida, Michigan and Duke -- and I’m weighing out the pros and cons on each of them.

First, you’ve got Florida.

I really like the coaching staff there. Billy Donovan and John Pelphrey have done a great job recruiting me, and I know that I’d be successful there just looking at their track record of putting big men in the NBA. Guys like Joakim Noah, David Lee, Al Horford ...

I think playing in that system would be great for me because Coach Donovan is known to let his big men get the ball on a rebound and take it coast-to-coast. I know that I would really thrive in that offense.

One con is that I didn’t get a feeling of comfort there. I know that I would be comfortable there over time, but that’s something that I’ve been thinking about.

Next up, you’ve got Michigan.
Mitch McGary
Kelly Kline/ESPNHSMitch McGary continues to weigh his options.

What I really like about Michigan is its coaching staff, especially Bacari Alexander. He’s probably one of the most underrated coaches in the country. He really knows what he’s doing with the big men.

I just like that I can trust the coaches there, and I actually like that they’re not on the biggest stage yet. That gives me the opportunity to go there and make a huge impact from day one.

A con for Michigan is that the Big Ten has a reputation for being a slow-paced conference with slow big men who don’t really get out and run the floor at all. That’s not the way that I want to play, so I’ve definitely got to take that into consideration. I know that if I went there it would help change the perceptions a lot.

Then you’ve got Duke.

I just loved everything about Duke when I went on my visit. They’re coached by the legendary Mike Krzyzewski, who I’ve developed a great relationship with and have a great deal of respect for. He’s about, to me, the winningest coach in college history, and no one else can say that.

I really liked the whole staff there and I really bonded with the players during my visit, too. Those guys are my boys. I really like their style of play, too. It’s an NBA offense, so that’s definitely attractive.

The con for Duke would be the perception that all their big men do is set screens and rebound and that they don’t get a lot of touches.

However, I know that if I went there I’d change that up because they mapped out how they want to use me and involve me in the offense, which is appealing.

So you can see how stressful this decision is on me with all of the things that I’m thinking about even as I do this blog. It’s been really stressful on my parents, too. They don’t really know how to deal with all of the coaches calling them, and all of their friends constantly asking where their son is going gets to be a lot at times.

But I’m lucky to have my parents there for me at all times. I love my parents to death and I really thank them for always being there for me. That means a lot to me. I don’t take it for granted.

I haven’t heard from any coaches lately. They have let me have my time to think things out after I talked to all three about a week and a half ago.

Honestly, all three of these schools are the right choice. I can’t lose with any of these programs, which is what makes this decision so tough.

I don’t know where I’m heading at this point and obviously there are a lot of analysts out there that are saying I do, but it’s not true.

Hopefully I’ll figure it out within the next 24 hours.

As you guys know I always give a music review in my blogs and I didn’t do one last time so I wanted to give you guys a heads up about one of my favorite artists coming out in a couple weeks. Drake is dropping his album “Take Care” and it’s definitely going to be one that you’re gonna want to buy.

Also, Wale’s new album came out today and I’m actually about to go download that right now so I’ll let you know how that is next time. Then you’ve got Mac Miller coming out with an album next week, too.

So there are definitely a lot of great albums coming out that I’ll be reviewing soon.

OK guys, that’s all I’ve got for now. I want to give a shoutout to all of my fans who have continued to support me. I really appreciate that more than you guys know.

Thanks everyone.

Don't forget to follow McGary on Twitter: @MitchMcGary33

Mitch's Memos: Options overload

October, 3, 2011
10/03/11
1:57
AM ET
Mitch McGaryKelly Kline/ESPNHSESPNHS Student Blogger: Mitch McGary
Mitch McGary | Senior | Forward | Brewster Academy (Wolfeboro, N.H.)

Mitch McGary is the top-ranked power forward in the ESPNU 100. Headed into his senior season at Brewster Academy (Wolfeboro, N.H.), McGary, has narrowed his list of colleges to Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky, Florida, Maryland and Michigan. McGary has agreed to give ESPNHS exclusive access by chronicling his thoughts on everything from his recruitment to pop culture in a blog.

McGary Blog 1 | McGary Blog 2

What’s up, world! It’s your boy, Mitch a.k.a. “White Chocolate” a.k.a. “White Thunder.”

First, before I start I just want everyone to know that everything in this blog is 100 percent me. No one writes for me or speaks for me. People come up with the craziest rumors sometimes.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, I started school about two weeks ago and so far everything’s going really well. I’ve got a pretty tough schedule, but I’m getting really good help from my teachers. They break it down really well so I’m learning a lot.

I’m so excited about the up-and-coming season because we are gonna be loaded. We’ve got Semaj Christon and Jaylen Reyonlds, and I think both of those guys are gonna have big years. Both are committed to Xavier and, trust me, Xavier got great pickups there. Then we’ve got one of my best friends Jakarr Sampson back with us. He recently de-committed from St. John’s, but he’s definitely gonna help us out a lot this year.

We’ve also got T.J. Warren, and I think he and I will be a deadly duo once we get our chemistry down pat. We’ve never played together and so it takes a little time to get on the same page, but it’s definitely gonna happen. Once our team gets on one accord we’ll definitely be ready to challenge for a national championship.

The last time I wrote, I’d gone on visits to Michigan, North Carolina and Duke.

I haven’t been on any visits since then.

I know there are a lot of rumors out there that I’ve already committed to certain schools, but I can honestly tell you guys that I don’t know where I want to go. I have not committed anywhere so that’s just not true.

I have had a lot of the schools on my list come to the school to see me.

Duke has been up here the most. I really like what Coach K (Mike Krzyzewski) has been talking to me about. He’s about to be the all-time winningest coach in NCAA history and that’s just really impressive to me. That’s something that stays on my mind. After Duke, Michigan has been here to see me the second most and I know that Michigan will be good too. They’re in the rebuilding stage and Coach (John) Beilein is another guy I really respect and like. They’re moving up in the rankings too.

Mitch McGary
Kelly Kline/ESPNHSMitch McGary continues to weigh his options.

Maryland has probably visited me the third most and I really like their program and think they’re headed in the right direction. Also, Coach (Billy) Donovan was up here a couple weeks ago and he’s done a really good job showing me what he’s done in the last few years developing talent. I really like what he’s been saying.

North Carolina has been up here too. They just got a commitment from Joel James, which will be a great situation for him. I want to definitely give Joel a shoutout.

As far as more visits, I don’t think I’ll be making any. I’m not gonna go to Kentucky’s Midnight Madness, I feel like I have all the information that I need to start to think about a decision. Within the next month I hope to have a decision made.

This decision will be really hard to say the least. I’m gonna let you guys in on a few things I’ll be thinking about throughout the process.

To start off, Duke has a lot to offer. They’ve got the Plumlees there, but Miles is a senior and Mason has a really good chance at going pro after this season. Then they’ve got their younger brother Marshall, who is very, very tall and skilled. I think I could go in there and make a great duo with Marshall and we could make a lot of noise together. I love that Duke likes to get out in transition and run too. That’s a big plus.

Then you’ve got Michigan. I look at who they’ve got coming in and I know they’re in a rebuilding situation, but I know that’s a situation where I could really come in and make a strong footprint. I feel like I could really help them and have a strong season there as a freshman. I like the Big Ten because it’s known for having blue-collar type players, but the pace tends to be a little slower. I love to go to work in the paint, but I like to get out and run more so with Michigan that’s something that I’ll have to really look at.

Then North Carolina has some great guys coming in with Marcus Paige and J.P. Tokoto and now Joel James. People think that me and T.J. have some sort of package deal going on for North Carolina, but that’s not true at all. I do think about playing with T.J. in college and of course we’re both considering North Carolina so I guess that’s where it comes from. I will say this though, I’ve definitely thought about it.

Carolina likes for their big men to get out in transition and run the floor, which is what I want to do.

With Maryland, I love that they fed the post a lot last year with Jordan Williams. They also get out in transition. Same with Florida, they play a really fast tempo.

So as you all can see, this won’t be an easy decision. I do know that whenever I commit I’m gonna be one of those guys that recruits for the school I pick. I definitely won’t force the school on guys I’ll just brag about it a lot.

OK, so you know it’s time for my music review and I’ve got to tell you all that Jay-Z and Kanye’s album “Watch the Throne” is definitely something that you’ve got to have on your play lists.

I just love the way they incorporate other artists like the song “Otis.” It gives you that old school mixed in with today’s music. I think that’s pretty dope.

Of course it’s Jay and Kanye so the lyrics are crazy too. I think that this one will go down as an all-time classic just because it’s a quality album and it’s by those two rap heavyweights.

The other album I want to tell you all about is J. Cole’s “Cole World: The Sideline Story.” I just got it recently, but that album is great. It’s one of those albums that you can just let play through and you don’t have to skip any songs on it.

J. Cole is a deep rapper and he raps about real life situations that most of us can relate to on some level. He’s a great lyricist too. That’s a definite buy so go pick that one up too.

OK, guys well as always I truly appreciate you taking the time to read my blog. As I said, I’m taking this time to talk things over with my family and weigh out what the best decision for me will be. You've got people out there saying I've decided and there's a leader and that's NOT true.

I want to shoutout all of my fans on Twitter. I appreciate you all cheering me on and sending me messages. That means a lot to me.

Take care everyone and check back soon for my next entry.

Don't forget to follow McGary on Twitter: @MitchMcGary33

Ogbueze will stay put

September, 27, 2011
9/27/11
12:24
PM ET
ESPNHS - North Carolina

Just over a week ago, United Faith Center Academy (Charlotte, N.C.) point guard Braxton Ogbueze learned “out of nowhere” that he’d be suiting up for a new coach for his final high school season.

Former NBA star point guard Muggsy Bogues replaced Shaun Wiseman on Sept. 20. Wiseman, whose career record was 254-42, reportedly stepped down to spend more time with his family.

Despite Ogbueze’s insistence that he was “excited” to learn from Bogues, rumors began to swirl that Ogbueze had indeed bolted for Montrose Christian (Rockville, Md.), last year’s ESPNHS National High School Invitational champion.

That claim, according to Ogbueze’s father Godwin, is “100 percent false.”

“We’ve heard all of the stuff about us going to Montrose, but Braxton isn’t going anywhere,” Godwin said. “We were told that Montrose would love to have him, but Braxton really looked at this as an opportunity to grow as a leader.

"He’s happy where he’s at and he really wants to see how far he can lead this team. Braxton will definitely be playing at United Faith this year.”

The Falcons finished 27-7 last season and fell in the state title game to Trinity Catholic, 57-49. Ogbueze averaged 17 points, seven assists and five rebounds.

Jason Jordan is the basketball editor for ESPNHS. He can be reached at jason.x.jordan.-ND@espn.com. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter: @JayJayESPN

Ogbueze ready for professional tutelage

September, 20, 2011
9/20/11
12:07
AM ET
ESPNHS - North Carolina

Former NBA star point guard Muggsy Bogues will officially be introduced as head coach at United Faith Christian Academy (Charlotte, N.C.) today at a parent/faculty meeting at the school, according to Falcons’ point guard Braxton Ogbueze.

Bogues replaces Shaun Wiseman, who led the Falcons to two state titles in 2009 and 2010. Wiseman, whose career record is 254-42, reportedly stepped down to spend more time with his family.

“I only learned about Coach Bogues taking over on Monday,” said Ogbueze, a Florida commit who is ranked No. 35 in the ESPNU 100. “I can’t lie; I was definitely shocked that I was getting a new coach in my last year.”

Bogues was an assistant to Wiseman during the Falcons’ first state title in 2009. He played with the Charlotte Hornets, Washington Bullets, Golden State Warriors and Toronto Raptors before retiring in 2001 following the death of his mother.

“He’s been where I’m trying to get,” Ogbueze said of Bogues. “We’ve got a lot of similarities. He was a small point guard who overcame his size (5-foot-3) and had a great career in the NBA, and people tell me that I’m too small at 6-feet. I know that I’ll learn a lot from him this year. It’s exciting.”

Don't forget to follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayESPN

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