He Will, He Won't, He Might 2018: David McCormack
Before KU’s two exhibition games against Emporia State and Washburn, the extent of our look at freshman David McCormack had come during a couple of summer scrimmages and at Late Night.
In all of those, McCormack’s raw physicality, racing motor and impressive size made him stand out as the kind of player who could start, play 30 minutes, average a double-double and quickly become a fan favorite.
And all of that might still happen in time. In fact, I’d probably bet on it.
But there’s a difference between free-flowing scrimmages and structured games and if we learned anything about McCormack during the exhibition victories, it’s that he still has some work to do before he gets major minutes.
All of the things that attracted KU to McCormack on the recruiting trail are there and jump out at you the first time you see him. But adjusting to the pace of play, executing KU’s game plan and doing it with 10 other guys battling for playing time with him is a slightly different thing.
McCormack will get comfortable, his minutes will go up and he’ll have a couple of monster games. It just might take a couple of months for him to reach that point.
While we wait, here’s a look at what else you can expect from the 6-foot-10 specimen this season. And we’re reversing the order here for effect. Read on to find out why.
He Might - Lead the team in rebounds per minute
Kansas coach Bill Self has said he can’t remember having many players — if any — who go after the ball as hard as McCormack when it comes off the rim. And if you’ve been watching, you’ve certainly seen that from McCormack in the infant stages of his Kansas career.
Because starters Dedric Lawson and Udoka Azubuike will command so many minutes ahead of him, and because KU still might look to go with a four-guard lineup 20-25 percent of the time, big minutes aren’t likely for the big man from Oak Hill.
But that might not stop him from ripping down a bunch of boards.
McCormack won’t play enough to lead the team in total rebounds and, because he’ll have a bunch of single-digit minute games, he probably won’t be able to lead the team in rebounds per game.
But rebounds per minute? That’s doable.
Look no further than Silvio De Sousa’s freshman season for evidence. In just 175 total minutes and 8.8 minutes per game, De Sousa recorded 74 total rebounds. That equals 0.42 rebounds per minute.
KU’s leading rebounder last season, sophomore Udoka Azubuike, finished with an average of 0.29 rebounds per minute — 252 boards in 848 minutes.
The stat itself doesn’t mean much either way, but for those who register on the high end, it does show that when they’re on the floor, they’re getting rebounds and that should be the case for McCormack.
He Won’t – Be a jerk about it when he knocks opponents to the floor
McCormack is one of the more impressive dudes on a very nice team. Kind, polite, well-spoken and good-mannered, the big man is at Kansas to go to school and play basketball and have a little fun along the way.
Winning, of course, is the most fun, and McCormack appears to have no problem fitting in however he needs to and being a great teammate in every way.
That persona should extend to his actions when it comes to sportsmanship. McCormack has the potential to be an enforcer in the paint for this Kansas team. He’s a brick wall and has good athleticism and nice timing in pursuit of rebounds and blocked shots.
But in those moments when McCormack puts a driving guard to the deck or knocks down a smaller opponent when the two are battling for a rebound or loose ball, he’s not likely to taunt or talk trash when the play is over. It’s back to business for McCormack, who always appears to be locked into what the team is running and pays close attention to instructions from the bench.
In time, a lot will become more natural and he’ll be free to just play. But until then, McCormack’s mind figures to be so fixed on being in the right spots and executing his assignments that he won’t have time or even think much about running his mouth.
He Will – Knock opponents to the floor
I know this isn’t something Kansas foes want to read or hear, but this prediction is inevitable.
McCormack’s simply too big, strong, broad and active to keep from hitting people.
And in addition to getting his money’s worth in the rebounding department when he’s on the floor, you can bet that McCormack will also get his money’s worth via the send-a-message, enforcer tag whenever this team needs it.
And on this roster, which features a bunch of good guys and smiling faces, it won't hurt to have that kind of presence on the paint, on the bench or anywhere else for that matter.
He Will, He Won't, He Might 2018: