NCAA

How did Mac McClung become an internet sensation?

How did Mac McClung become an internet sensation?

There was a lot of pomp and fanfare when Mac McClung made his decision to go to Georgetown in early 2018. 

Odd for an outsider, considering he was a consensus three-star prospect from Southwest, VA. The Hoyas were the only team from a power conference to offer a scholarship to McClung, his other options were Drake, Murray State and Old Dominion among others. 

But McClung was well known in the social media landscape. His high-flying acrobatics and dunking ability wowed high school crowds and led to be all the rage on social media. His highlights mixtapes, some made by him and some made by other videographers, revolutionized the highlight game for upcoming college prospects.

His Instagram account macmcclung37 gained traction and as of this writing has over 743,000 followers. 

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Dat way @quavohuncho Full video on Ballislife.com

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On top of his dunking, he regularly put up 40-plus points in nearly every game. One game the star scored 64 points, the most in a VHSL game since 1984.  His senior season he averaged 37 points a contest.

His fame did not stop in high school. At the competitive Kenner League in Washington D.C., he continued to churn out highlight after highlight. Instead of dunking on high school players who will never play in the college game, he was posterizing four-star and other three-star recruits. 

Anybody who wanted to be in the highlight business tailed McClung at every opportunity. 

McClung's fame blossomed. Arguably, he became one of the most-hyped three-star recruits of his time. Professional athletes began following McClung on Twitter and Instagram, while interacting with him. 

He made it to Georgetown, the dunking continued and the fanbase was thrilled. 

Within two years he was the team's leading scorer and focal point of the offense. The dunks became few and far between but the celebrity status that McClung had to his name was still there. 

Once his name hit the transfer portal, it was one of the biggest stories of the offseason - for multiple reasons. But star player after star player, including Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes, joined in the recruiting game to bring McClung to their former school or backyard college. 

Those who are critical say McClung's stardom and Instagram fame got in the way of developing more with the Hoyas. Meanwhile, other fan bases were doing all the could to try and bring the aerial superstar to their team. 

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Howard makes a massive jump in preseason KenPom rankings after Makur Maker commitment

Howard makes a massive jump in preseason KenPom rankings after Makur Maker commitment

The Howard men's basketball program was forever changed once 2020 five-star recruit Makur Maker announced his decision to play with the Bison next season

While this is a monumental step for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) as a whole, this is also a really big deal for the current Howard program. 

Last season, Howard was 4-29 (1-15 MEAC). Only three of those wins were against Division I opponents. Literally they were one of the worst teams in college basketball.

But with Maker that will change things. Not only will they vault to title favorites in the MEAC, but their national profile and coverage will greatly improve. Already Ken Pomeroy, who is the developer behind one of the most trusted metrics in the sport (KenPom), has the Bison taking a huge step by simply adding the five-star center. 

RELATED: ARE TOP PROSPECTS GOING TO HBCUs A NEW TREND?

That meant Howard was going to be second-to-last in Division I for Pomeroy's preseason rankings this year. Going to 252nd gives them a 27% jump by the addition of a single player. 

That will be the largest jump by a player - ever, according to Pomeroy. 

Makur is a 6-foot-11 player that is projected to be a lottery pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. His cousin, Thon Maker, plays for the Pistons in the NBA.

All signs point to Howard being the class of the MEAC next season, but overall the quality of the league as a whole will improve with Maker. 

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2020 five-star recruit Makur Maker commits to Howard

2020 five-star recruit Makur Maker commits to Howard

When five-star big man Makur Maker announced his final four schools Thursday and Howard University was on the list, it certainly raised some eyebrows. Now, it appears Howard has landed one of the biggest recruits in its history. 

Maker tweeted early Friday morning that he had committed to Howard and head coach Kenny Blakeney over UCLA, Kentucky and Memphis.

"I was the first to announce my visit to Howard & others started to dream “what if,'" Maker wrote. "I need to make the HBCU movement real so that others will follow. I hope I inspire guys like Mikey Williams to join me on this journey. I am committing to Howard U & coach Kenny Blakeney."

Top high school recruits such as Maker and 2023 five-star Mikey Williams are the first to show real interest in playing their college ball at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). Maker is the first of his caliber to make a commitment amid a worldwide movement against the systematic oppression of Black people. 

RELATED: RANKING THE CBB COACHES IN DC, MARYLAND, VIRGINIA

Maker, the brother of Pistons big man Thon Maker, is the 18th-ranked 2020 recruit in the nation according to 247sports. The 6'11, 235-pound big man is known for his blend of size, mobility and perimeter skills at the center position.

Maker was born in Kenya and immigrated to Australia when he was one year old. He then played high school basketball at multiple schools in California before playing his final season at Hillcrest Prep Academy in Phoenix, AZ. 

Maker will join a program in need of a boost in talent. Howard went 4-29 last season and will surely improve with their newest addition. But perhaps Maker's decision will have a bigger impact on college basketball moving forward. As top recruits begin to consider avenues outside the traditional powerhouse programs, the game's landscape could look a lot different in a few years.

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