Georgetown men’s basketball sophomore guard Mac McClung announced Wednesday that he will not be returning for his junior season and will instead be entering his name into the NCAA transfer portal.
McClung had originally announced March 29 that he would be declaring for the NBA Draft while retaining the option to return to college basketball. However, McClung has decided to withdraw his name from draft consideration and continue playing basketball at the collegiate level at a school other than Georgetown University.
McClung was one of the most highly anticipated recruits for the Hoyas in recent years as part of the 2018 recruiting class, one of Head Coach Patrick Ewing’s (CAS ’85) first recruiting classes. The class also included three-star recruit forward Grayson Carter and four-star recruits forward Josh LeBlanc and guard James Akinjo. Each recruit has since left the program. McClung was ranked a three-star guard in high school out of Gate City, Va., and video compilations of his high-flying dunks had brought him viral success on YouTube.
In his freshman season at Georgetown, McClung was a breakout star on the team, appearing in 29 games and averaging 13.1 points and 2.6 rebounds per game on 39% shooting from the field. Alongside Akinjo and center Jessie Govan, he led the Hoyas to a 19-14 record.
McClung improved upon his freshman season in 2019-20, leading the Hoyas with an average of 15.7 points per game. McClung, however, was only able to play in 21 games, as leg and eye injuries left him sidelined for intermittent periods throughout the regular season. With the loss of Akinjo, LeBlanc, forward Galen Alexander and forward Myron Gardner midseason entering the transfer portal, McClung was forced to step up and lead the team. The Hoyas had a disappointing season, finishing 15-17 overall and losing in the first round of the Big East Tournament to St. John’s.
Ewing and McClung appeared to have a communication error when Ewing announced McClung would be returning to Georgetown next season, in spite of McClung’s declaration for the NBA Draft. Ewing said in an interview with Fox Sports’ Andy Katz on May 5 that both McClung and junior guard Jamorko Pickett had declared for the draft, but would both be returning to Georgetown in the fall. This prompted McClung to respond with an Instagram story stating that he had been testing draft waters and was receiving great feedback from scouts. This miscommunication between McClung and Ewing may have caused tension, as it appeared Ewing did not believe McClung was going to be drafted by June. However, McClung claimed that the miscommunication was not the primary factor that prompted his decision to transfer.
“The podcast with Andy Katz was not the deciding factor to my decision to transfer,” McClung said in an interview with ESPN. “I think it affected my pre-draft process and seemed to confuse a lot of teams.”
Without McClung, the Hoyas will certainly be more challenged going into the 2020-21 season. McClung marks the fifth player to transfer from Georgetown’s roster this season alone, leaving Ewing with seven new incoming players who will not arrive on campus until August. In light of the novel coronavirus, the basketball program will not be able to hold their usual summer training, so acclimating new players to campus will have to occur alongside the start of classes this fall. However, Ewing says he does not have any hard feelings toward McClung and wishes him the best as he moves into the next stage of his career.
“Mac was an integral piece of our program, and when he let me know his decision I was disappointed, but he needs to do what’s best for him,” Ewing said in an interview with GU Hoyas. “I want to wish him luck in his future endeavors. Moving forward, our focus is the core that we have coming back and our incoming class.”