The Mac McClung to Allen Iverson comparisons are outlandish and, as Wizards forward and former Georgetown star Jeff Green noted previously, unfair. At a minimum, any side-by-side talk is wildly premature even though McClung is the most electric guard to play for the Hoyas since the Basketball Hall of Famer roamed the Hilltop in the mid 90’s.
In the 12th game of his college career, McClung made the comparison slightly tangible at least for one day.
The social media sensation – in this case we mean the 6-foot-2 guard from Gate City, Virginia – scored a career-high 38 points in Georgetown’s 102-94 overtime win over Little Rock Saturday afternoon. Based on some internet sleuthing, that’s more points than any Hoyas freshman since Jim Barry dropped 39 and 41 during the 1962-63 season.
In between notables like Eric “Sleepy” Floyd, Patrick Ewing, Alonzo Mourning, Iverson, Green and Otto Porter suited up for Georgetown. McClung’s scoring performance topped them all.
He sank 10 of 21 shots from the floor including four 3-pointers, several assertive driving layups and a dunk to satisfy the fans familiar with his aerial work via YouTube videos.
McClung hit 14 of 16 free throws, though the two misses in the final seconds of regulation kept Little Rock alive for a game-tying 3–pointer at the buzzer. His 4-point play with 46 seconds remaining in overtime, set up by a pass from fellow freshman James Akinjo, sealed the win.
“I just tried to stick to the game plan,” the deferential McClung said of his performance. "James did a lot of great things too. We just try and feed off each other’s energy.
Akinjo, hardly a supporting player, had 25 points and seven assists.
“It becomes real fun,” Akinjo said of playing with McClung. “You get the crowd involved. He’s making shots; I make a couple plays here and there. It’s real fun playing with him. He makes it easier for me and our team as well.”
Head coach Patrick Ewing started the kids together in the season opener.
“They’re ability to create and get to the hole, they used that to their advantage today,” Ewing said after the Hoyas improved to 9-3 in their penultimate non-conference game of the regular season.
Anybody that watched highlights of McClung dominate high school games and set the state of Virginia single-season record, surpassing Iverson in the process, knows he can get to the rim. It’s why the buzz popped leading to his arrival on the Hilltop and the comparisons began.
"It's not hype. The kid is good," Green said of McClung in November. "You can't put these expectations (on him). What have people been calling him? White Iverson. There's no other player that's gonna be Allen Iverson. He's gonna be who he's gonna be."
McClung was all kinds of good against Little Rock. More notable than the scoring fest, at least by those on the media side and long-time fans eager to hear from the team’s stars, is what happened postgame. McClung and Akinjo joined Ewing for the postgame press conference.
Georgetown’s long-standing policy dating back to at least Ewing’s arrival in 1981 precludes freshmen from engaging officially with reporters. No matter the talents and interest, the Hoyas never waver from this approach.
Attention future historians: The first words spoken by Mac McClung in official Georgetown capacity. pic.twitter.com/VED5yVTKgb— Ben Standig (@BenStandig) December 22, 2018
Then McClung and Akinjo entered. They were still wearing their gray home uniforms rather suits, another new wrinkle. Ewing left the press conference noting the pair needed a shower.
Little stunk about McClung’s work Saturday.
“We’re excited about the win, but we’re excited to get back (to practice) and keep growing,” McClung said on a day his legend took another leap.
That doesn’t mean those Iverson comparisons should re-start. It just means McClung had quite the day.