Expected to be "the guy" coming off John Beilein's bench this season, Michigan true freshman Mitch McGary got his first taste of college basketball last week in team's successful exhibition opener against Northern Michigan.
Though he was slowed by a foot injury in recent weeks on the practice court, McGary still managed to pull down nine total rebounds over just 17 minutes in his promising debut performance. The 6'10, 250-pound forward also chipped in a pair of blocks and one assist, but his post-injury stamina remains a work in progress as far as Beilein is concerned.
"We've got to get him in better shape, while we were being cautious with his foot and his calf, it didn't get him in great shape. Through water workouts, pool workouts bike riding and now he actually can sprint. ... He tires himself out. He's a high-energy guy, which means he's got to do the things freshmen have to learn to do, you have to eat right, get sleep."
McGary is cut from the same mold as a player like Tyler Hansbrough (seriously), and it's difficult for guys like this to simply stop giving maximum effort at pretty much everything they do on a basketball court. McGary has always been in average physical condition for his size anyway, but the timing of this injury made it impossible for him to gain any positive momentum heading into the season.
Lucky for Michigan, Beilein is afforded the luxury to slowly ease McGary into the rotation off the bench for as long as he sees fit. Judging by the first-year forward's effort level in a brief stint last week however, Beilein may not have to wait very long before his star freshman affirms his lofty recruiting hype.