Remember the Giants of MAC Basketball
For more than 50 years the Mid-American Conference pumped out future NBA players with ease. Then is suddenly stopped. What happened to the giants of MAC basketball?
The 6-foot-7 inch power forward wasn't drafted in Thursday night's 2014 NBA Draft, but he has agreed in principle to a deal with the Dallas Mavericks. Per NBA rules the contract can't be signed until next week when the free agency period begins.
To say McCrea was dominant in the MAC may be an understatement. Throughout his four-year career he averaged at least 20 points per 40 minutes of play in each season, something only Doug McDermott can also claim amongst this year's draftees. In 2013-2014 McCrea averaged 18.5 points, 9.9 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game while capturing the MAC Player of the Year award.
A slightly smaller forward, McCrea plays much bigger than he is. He's incredibly powerful and can hold his own in the paint vs much larger post players. His incredible athletic ability allows him to slash through the lane, blazing by larger forwards and centers, and creating nightmarish matchup issues. He's a ferocious rebounder, who never averaged less than 6.5 per game, and notched 16 double-doubles this past season, including a 25 point, 20 rebound performance against conference foe Central Michigan.
Despite being listed at just 6-foot-7, McCrea is able to dominate the glass and block shots with ease thanks to a 7-foot-3 wingspan. His standing reach—how high he can touch when standing flat-footed—is 8-foot-11, and he sports a 32 inch vertical, not bad for a 250 pound forward built like an NFL defensive lineman.
Another thing that had some worried about McCrea was that he didn't play against top-level talent in the MAC, and scouts were concerned about how he'd fare against better players. He disproved any doubts about his game though at the 2014 Portsmouth Invitational, where he averaged 15.6 points, 6.7 rebounds and shot better than 50 percent from the floor.
Despite his shorter frame, McCrea has the potential to be a solid NBA power forward who would thrive around the rim thanks to his powerful style of play. He can use some technical improvements in his offensive game, but has potential to make an impact should he actually make the Mavericks' roster.