“Mac was an integral piece of our program, and when he let me know his decision I was disappointed,” Hoyas Coach Patrick Ewing said in a statement. " But he needs to do what’s best for him. 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.”
The transfer seemed to take Ewing by surprise. Last week, the coach said McClung, named to the Big East’s all-freshmen team in 2018-19, had abandoned his NBA plans for now and decided to return to school. He later said “maybe I spoke to soon” about McClung’s plans to turn pro.
Ewing’s original statement may have led to some frustrations from McClung and his camp as he continued to meet with NBA teams. His representatives, Hazan Sports Management, quickly put out a tweet contradicting the coach and said McClung had not notified anyone from Georgetown of his intentions to withdraw or return to the university. Eight days later, McClung informed the program of his plan to transfer.
“The feedback that he got from [NBA] teams was that they wanted to see him facilitating more,” agent Daniel Hazan said. “Being more of a point guard role, etc. I’m not saying he couldn’t have gotten that at Georgetown, but he didn’t showcase that at Georgetown. He didn’t get the opportunity really to showcase that. He was playing off the ball.”
ESPN was the first to report McClung’s transfer.
“It was a number of different events that made me feel I had no choice but to transfer from Georgetown,” McClung told ESPN. “I really wanted to stay, but things throughout my career made me realize that I couldn’t.
“I’m looking for a place I can call home. A place I can be a part of a family and help them succeed.”
McClung’s departure is the latest chapter in a drama-filled 2019-20 for the Hoyas. He is the fifth player to transfer since December, leaving the Hoyas with just two returning starters. Ewing remained optimistic about the state of the program last week and called the 15-17 mark this past season a “hiccup,” citing transfers and injuries. The most notable departure before McClung was point guard James Akinjo, the 2018-19 Big East freshman of the year, who left in December and transferred to Arizona in January.
Arkansas graduate transfer Jalen Harris, whom Ewing described as a true point guard and facilitator, is joining the program.
The athletic McClung developed a massive online following in high school for his stunning dunks and long-distance shooting, two elements of his game that regularly were on display during his time at Georgetown. He averaged 13.1 points during his freshman season and had improved on that before a right foot injury forced him to miss 10 of the final 11 conference games this past season.
Ewing is 49-46 in three seasons at Georgetown and has yet to reach the NCAA tournament in his first full-time job as head coach on any level. Athletic Director Lee Reed recently voiced his support of Ewing in an interview with The Washington Post.
“Coach Ewing has done a really good job during his time here,” Reed said. “You have to take into account where we were and how far we’ve come in all aspects. … We knew it would take some time to get us back to where we wanted to go.”