As much as anybody can go viral these days and become a celebrity of sorts, very few are tasked with its additional responsibilities. With such fame that is everlasting, brings tons of attention, pressure to succeed, pressure to improve, and the greatest pressure of them all, to make it last. In fact, this happens a lot in the world of sports.
Georgetown sophomore guard Mac McClung is very familiar with those circumstances, as his life quickly changed two years ago. The Garden City, VA native — despite standing below 6-foot-2 and looking very much like a high-school freshmen — caught the basketball world’s attention via his incredible dunks and scoring prowess. McClung’s highlights would quickly spread around social media and sooner than later, the dynamic guard was going to Georgetown University after he decommitted from Rutgers during October of 2017.
But even with all of the hype surrounding him as he began his journey with the Hoyas last season, nothing stopped McClung from becoming a key contributor. As the Hoyas battled their way to a 19-14 record and a looming NIT Tournament bid, the former freshman would averaged 13 points per game. During a few, critical Big East matchup’s against the likes of St. John’s, Villanova, and Marquette, McClung not only led the Hoyas in scoring, but to big victories.
I had the chance to speak with McClung earlier this month at this year’s Big East Media Day. The sophomore guard is very determined to help his team improve upon last season while also improving himself.
Arden: What were some of the biggest things you worked on this summer?
MM: I honestly changed everything, whether it was my work ethic, shooting, or diet. And although, we didn’t know how to win at first, our coaches have given us returnees great advice on how to improve and win; so we’re excited about this coming season, especially with a new team in place.
Arden: As someone who was new to the Big East and its rivalries, how did you initially react to playing in those games?
MM: I simply remained level-headed and listened to my coaches and teammates. Some of them have had their share of battles in the Big East, so I wisely listened. But I ultimately felt by going through those games in that way along with being mature about it, it would help me in the end. Obviously high school is much different than college, and that’s another transition in itself, so I was happy I did my part.
Arden: I spoke with your teammate and fellow sophomore James Akinjo about playing with you last season and he said you, “took a lot of pressure off of him.” Do you feel the same way about James?
MM: Oh, absolutely. James and I both feel as if we’re the “underdogs” and can relate to various things, especially with trying to help each other out along with our teammates. If we’re playing our best ball together, then we’ll be tough to stop.
Arden: Dating back to your high school career, you soon became a viral star and was everywhere to be seen. Was it all a big surprise?
MM: In all seriousness, it wasn’t a surprise to me because I told everyone this would happen (laughs). I really believed in myself and I’m happy it came true. But with that said, I still know I have ways to go. I haven’t done anything yet.