Mitch McGary lost almost all of his sophomore season to a back injury, but that didn't shut him out of the first round of the NBA Draft. The former U-M big man has been chosen by the Oklahoma City Thunder with the No. 21 pick in round one.
McGary was all smiles on draft night, a far cry from the frustration he felt while sitting on the sidelines throughout the Big Ten campaign and the Big Ten and NCAA Tournaments. Back surgery put him out of commission, after only eight game appearances.
The sophomore averaged 9.5 points per game, after many projected him to be Michigan's driving force toward another long run in the NCAA Tournament. That was based on McGary's incredible effort in the spring of 2013, when he proved Michigan's breakout performer on the way to the NCAA title game.
McGary made the NCAA Final Four All-Tournament Team, averaging 14.3 points and 10.7 rebounds throughout the tournament. That led to pre-season All-America status by a host of publications, the promise of which got torpedoed by his injury.
The former Wolverine has been working his way back into shape after being cleared by doctors to perform on the court again, and expects to move confidently to the next level.
"His motor is what stands out to me and just about everybody else," U-M head coach John Beilein told WDFN radio in Detroit. "One thing that is extremely important for him going forward and I believe he is right now, is to be in great shape. When he is he can play all day long. I'm really happy for him right now."