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Georgetown’s Mac McClung, still rehabbing his foot injury, is ready to test NBA draft waters

Mac McClung is holding out hope that the NBA holds a draft combine this year. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

The only upside to leaving his team before its final game of the season, missing out on cheering the seniors as they departed and not having the chance to join one final huddle before putting to bed the most tumultuous season in recent Georgetown history, was that Mac McClung finally had time.

The Hoyas’ star guard retreated home to rest in Gate City, Va., in early March, forsaking a sideline appearance at the Big East tournament after undergoing a procedure to address plantar fasciitis in his right foot that kept him out of 10 of the final 11 games of the season. Throughout his sophomore year, he had directed all of the NBA agents who came calling to his parents, preferring not to deal with the matter of his future while Georgetown was in the thick of conference play.

But at home, with his season over and Georgetown’s campus closed because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, McClung had hours to mull over his options. He eventually landed on what he viewed as the most prudent choice: Enter the NBA draft but maintain his remaining two years of college eligibility.

“It’s a win-win situation for me, whatever happens,” McClung said in a phone interview. “I can talk to [NBA] teams, see where I’m at and what they think, what they see for me. If that’s staying in the draft, great. If it’s going back to school and working on a couple things, that’s great as well.”

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The 6-foot-2 standout proved himself as an exciting scorer capable of putting up points in bunches — he led Georgetown at 15.7 points per game this past season and added 3.1 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.4 steals — but he knows his decision-making skills and shot selection are still developing.

McClung said now was the best time to consider his options, even though he is recovering from the foot injury and the pre-draft process remains murky with the NBA on hiatus. The game slowed down for him in his second year playing for Coach Patrick Ewing, and McClung said he learned even more by watching his teammates from the sideline during the latter part of the season.

He's comfortable enough to take the next step in his career.

“I think there will be different options,” McClung said. “Obviously, I want to hear that a team is looking to draft me, and that’s the biggest thing. But I think it’ll be pretty clear, the way they speak to me and what they say, what they see from me. … We’re just going to see what they say, and I’m going to build the best positives and negatives from that situation and make a decision from there. That’s every player’s dream, so just speaking to my family and people I’m close to, it’s the best time to do that.”

While the NBA draft is still scheduled for June 25, the normal pre-draft evaluation process has been upended. Teams are not allowed to conduct or attend workouts with draft-eligible players, nor are they able to watch or request live video of prospects working out.

McClung, who made a name for himself with sensational dunks and stunning athleticism, is holding out hope that the league still holds a draft combine. So far, it is still on for May 21-24 in Chicago.

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In the meantime, he is making the most of his time at home. He is staying limber, gathering information from NBA teams and building relationships virtually.

His workout regimen, scheduled around daily online classes, involves conditioning and water therapy for his foot in the morning, time in the sauna and plenty of stretching, in addition to more traditional workouts. McClung and his father, Marcus, converted the family basement into a gym long ago.

“I’m rehabbing. I’m working out. I’m doing all of it,” McClung said. “Doing a lot of stretching to get my muscles right and just trying to do the things — we’re not allowed to be at local gyms or anything like that, but I’ve got some access to some places that I’m really fortunate to have, and I’m trying to stay in the flow as much as possible.”

With so much time to think about his future, McClung spared a few thoughts for this past Georgetown season as well. He said the turmoil the Hoyas faced — losing four players to transfers in a two-week span in December, then going on a six-game winning streak before losing 11 of their final 14 games to finish 15-17 — could be a catalyst for growth.

He left for home in March with a lasting feeling of pride.

“It was weird. It was definitely weird, but I’m proud. I’m proud of the guys,” McClung said. “We went through all that, and we came together, and that was such a beautiful moment when we went on that winning streak. I believe if everybody stayed healthy this season, without the coronavirus, this season ends a lot differently for us. That was hard watching, sitting out, not being able to contribute, knowing we had a shot of making the [NCAA] tournament. It was rough, but hopefully it’ll make us stronger and make me stronger personally.”

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