NCAA

Mac McClung is transferring from Georgetown and that's bad news for Patrick Ewing

Mac McClung is transferring from Georgetown and that's bad news for Patrick Ewing

Patrick Ewing's seemingly impossible task at Georgetown got a whole lot more difficult on Wednesday. His top player for next season, Mac McClung, has requested to transfer from the Hoyas immediately. 

From the outside, it appears more players want out than want in. McClung marks the fifth transfer out of the Hoyas program since December. Not bottom of the roster transfers either. Starters and stars are leaving. Clearly, not a good sign for Ewing as he is set to enter his fourth season as Georgetown's head coach. 

While this is a far different situation than the legal issues some former Hoyas faced in December, Ewing is at least somewhat at fault for the loss of one of the most electric players he's had in three seasons. 

The abrupt decision by McClung comes exactly a week following a disconnect with the head coach. Ewing told Andy Katz on a podcast that McClung would return to the Hoyas for his junior season, before any official announcement. McClung's NCAA-verified agent, Daniel Hazan, refuted that claim and said that 6-foot-2 guard was still meeting with NBA teams and had not stated his intentions to return to school. 

"The podcast with Andy Katz was not the deciding factor to my decision to transfer," McClung told ESPN. "I think it affected my pre-draft process and seemed to confuse a lot of teams."

Whether he states it was a factor or not, it clearly had an influence and struck a bad cord in the player-coach relationship. McClung also told ESPN that multiple factors led to his decision. 

"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."

A rough contrast of his former team if he was unable to get that same affinity at the Hilltop.

In an effort that almost rubs salt in the wound, in addition to McClung's announcement coming a week to the day of the rift, he is also withdrawing his name from the NBA Draft process according to ESPN.

And once again, Ewing faces another rebuild in his first stint as a head coach. As if going through last season with at times six healthy scholarship players wasn't difficult enough, he has to face another challenge.

Ewing enters his fourth season without an NCAA Tournament bid and hasn't even come close to sniffing March Madness as a coach. The Hoyas' best season got them to an NIT appearance in a campaign that was built on a cupcake non-conference schedule. The program hiring an big-name alum was supposed to invigorate the fanbase and donors. 

The opposite has happened. A once proud Hoya Saxa program has become lethargic, but being critical of unequivocally the best player in Georgetown history is difficult.

Even the school itself is in a rough spot. It's one thing for fans to grow frustrated with someone they revere. But could the institution part ways with their legend? Chris Mullin had to resign from his alma mater, St. John's. Danny Manning was fired from Wake Forest. Isiah Thomas and Clyde Drexler also had failed tenures at FIU and Houston respectively.

The Hoyas have displayed patience before. They did with John Thompson III and surely a loose leash has been given to Ewing. But performance-wise, Ewing hasn't improved much from his predecessor. And this transfer mess has left a black eye on the program. 

It has now been five years - and presumably soon-to-be six given the state of the roster - without even a tournament appearance from the once-famed program. Patience is wearing thin. 

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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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