University of Michigan center Mitch McGary will try his luck in this year’s NBA draft. According to a report by Boston.com on Friday, has decided to forgo his final two years of college eligibility by declaring for the draft. McGary’s reasoning for making the decision was because of a yearlong suspension handed to him by the NCAA for failing a drug test.
McGary is not expected to be a top selection in the draft, but his confidence in being selected by an NBA team also contributed to his decision. After testing positive for marijuana, McGary told Yahoo Sports that the reason he used marijuana was to help him with a back injury that limited his availability during the season. The center only played in eight games for the Wolverines this season.
Both the frustration of the injury and the fact that he wasn’t playing led McGary to a decision that eventually led to a one-year ban. On a night in March, while hanging out with some friends and having a few drinks, McGary gave into an offer to smoke marijuana. He said it was something he usually “turned down” except for that night. Two weeks later he was selected for a random drug test and the results made a decision he contemplated making an easier one.
Before the test Mitch McGary says he was considering returning to Michigan for his junior year because it would’ve helped him raise NBA draft stock, but with the penalty of his positive drug test being “a year,” any debate he had about returning went out the window. Although it was his mistake, which he admits to, he attributes the one-year ban to the strict NCAA rules that they take “very seriously.” If it was a Michigan test, he feels the consequences would’ve been less severe.
“If it had been a Michigan test, I would’ve been suspended three games and possibly thought about coming back. I don’t have the greatest circumstances to leave right now [due to the injury]. I feel I’m ready, but this pushed it overboard. I don’t think the penalty fits the crime. I think one year is overdoing it a little bit.”
McGary did apologize to Michigan fans for how his basketball career has ended. What’s more frustrating to him as a player is that the NCAA just changed its policy and lowered the suspension to half a season. The decision came on April 15. McGary is hoping NBA teams remember him as the standout freshman who helped lead the Wolverines to the 2013 national title game and not see him as a drug user and potential risk.