Late Night strikes again.
The Kansas men’s basketball team on Monday picked up its second commitment from the Class of 2019, when Issac “Mackey” McBride announced just after 5 p.m. he would join the Jayhawks.
McBride, a four-star point guard from Little Rock, Ark., chose Kansas over finalists Auburn and Virginia and did so on the heels of a thrilling weekend visit to KU for Late Night in the Phog.
“Late Night was beyond my expectations,” McBride said. “I had seen clips of it on YouTube, but what kind of got me was how excited the fans were for a scrimmage. There’s nothing better than Late Night. When we came out there, the recruits, the fans are all excited, and that’s just what you want to be around.”
McBride’s visit began last Thursday and, right from the get-go, he knew it was going to lead to something special.
Hear from Issac McBride, who talks about his verbal commitment to the University of Kansas during a teleconference with reporters. The 6-foot-1, 180-pound guard joins Blue Valley Northwest shooting guard Christian Braun as the first players in the 2019 class to commit to the Jayhawks.
“The coaches picked us up, they were very excited to have us there and you could tell it was genuine,” McBride said Monday during a teleconference announcing his decision. “One of the players on the (KU) team told us this is how it is every day. Kansas does check a lot of the boxes and the family box and the environment is great up there.”
McBride said the three main factors that led him to pick KU were that family atmosphere, his development as a player under KU coach Bill Self – whom he called as good a basketball mind as any coach out there – and KU’s strong academics.
The 6-foot-1, 180-pound guard joins Blue Valley Northwest shooting guard Christian Braun as the first players in the 2019 class to commit to the Jayhawks.
Both figure to sign letters of intent and make their oral commitments official when the early signing period rolls around in mid-November.
Ranked No. 109 overall in the 2019 class by Rivals.com, McBride has been a player on the rise for a few months and his game just keeps getting better.
Known for his toughness, quickness and willingness to compete anytime and anywhere, the four-star guard this summer already was drawing comparisons to former Kansas standout Frank Mason III.
“Coach Self really compared me to him in a way,” McBride said. “Similar stories and how they found Frank Mason in Las Vegas also, in the same gym in Las Vegas. He said if I was to come to (KU), he would push me so I could have some of the same success that Frank Mason had.”
Asked Monday to describe his game, the 4-star guard who considers himself a combo guard and is comfortable playing the 1 and the 2 said: “Focused and determined. That’s pretty much my game there summed (up). I feel like I can do it all.”
His high school coach, Baptist Prep’s Steve Miller, echoed those thoughts.
“Issac is just a coach’s dream,” Miller said. “This is the kind of young man you get to coach maybe once or twice in your career. On the basketball floor, he can do it all. We want the ball in his hands, but he’s very unselfish and likes to get his teammates involved.”
McBride’s commitment is noteworthy for a number of reasons, but might be most interesting because it comes, in a sense, in place of former KU commitment Markese Jacobs, of Chicago, who earlier this summer reopened his recruitment and backed out of his commitment to Kansas, which came during his sophomore season of high school.
In McBride, the Jayhawks are getting a player who appears to be just as tough and quick as Jacobs, but also is a couple of inches and a few pounds heavier.
Jacobs, who once was a Top 100 player in the Rivals rankings, currently is ranked at No. 124 in the 2019 class.
Speaking of the class in general, the Jayhawks' first two pieces appear to be in the mold of the Tyrel Reed and Devonte’ Graham signings from years ago, both of which were notable prospects destined to become program guys.
Both, of course, wound up having great Kansas careers and are still among the most beloved players of the Self era.
From this point on, the KU coaching staff will look to add firepower to these building blocks, with five-star prospects Jeremiah Robinson-Earl and Matt Hurt still at the top of their wish list, and four-star targets Cassius Stanley (No. 31) and Zeke Nnaji (No. 37), among others, right behind them.
It remains to be seen how many players the 2019 class will include, but given the potential for a few players to leave school early following the 2018-19 season, the 2019 haul could include as many as five or even six prospects.