Two future Jayhawks make commitments official Wednesday
Wednesday was a big day for four-star combo guard Issac “Mackey” McBride, of Little Rock, Ark., the No. 109-ranked player in the 2019 recruiting class.
Decked out in a blue plaid shirt, with a red and blue Kansas banner serving as a makeshift table cloth in the middle of his high school gymnasium’s floor, McBride made his commitment to Kansas official by signing his letter of intent on the first day of the early signing period.
As he did, the sounds of KU’s fight song, “I’m a Jayhawk,” blared over the loud speakers, creating a festive environment at Little Rock’s Baptist Prep.
McBride committed to Kansas back in early October and was the second future Jayhawk to make his commitment official on Wednesday. Christian Braun, a four-star wing from nearby Blue Valley Northwest, also signed on the dotted line early Wednesday morning. Braun hosted a celebration at BVNW after school.
Kevin McPherson, who covers basketball and recruiting for Hogville.net, caught up with McBride moments before he signed, and the 6-foot, 180-pound guard who is comfortable playing the point or off the ball, did not hide his excitement for what he was about to make official.
“It was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up,” McBride told McPherson. “And it just kept calling me. I would think about other schools, but I would always go back to Kansas.
“The reason I want to go there is because that’s the mecca of basketball. People say Chicago, New York, but, really, where basketball was created was right there in Kansas.”
McBride made an official visit to Kansas for Late Night and committed a couple of days later, picking KU over finalists Auburn and Virginia.
“When I went (to Kansas), the experience blew my mind,” McBride said Wednesday.
McBride was discovered by Kansas late in the process, back in July in the same Las Vegas gym where KU assistant Kurtis Townsend found Frank Mason III. And there are those out there who believe the newest KU guard could follow a path similar to Mason’s, who went from overlooked prep prospect to national player of the year.
“Issac is just a coach’s dream,” Baptist Prep coach Steve Miller said in October. “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.”
For McBride, the opportunity to sign with a school like Kansas outweighed every second of waiting he did while attempting to be discovered.
“Everything came late,” McBride told McPherson before signing. “But it came at the perfect time.”
Kansas coach Bill Self, who only can comment about prospects after KU has received the official letter of intent, offered his thoughts about McBride late Wednesday afternoon.
“Issac, who we all call Mackey, can play point, but he’s a combo guard who can score,” Self said. “When you watch him, you are so impressed with his range, quickness and explosiveness and his ability to elevate on his shot. We see him as a guy that can come in and, obviously, give us depth on perimeter shooting. He is a guy that can just score the ball. We haven’t had too many here like that, a natural scorer. He's a combo guard that can jump up and make a shot wherever he is on the court."
Self also recalled that Las Vegas adventure that led Kansas to McBride.
“It was the first time we had ever seen him play,” Self said. “He played against a team with two top-five players in their respective class and he dominated the game. We watched him a few more times at that event and offered him right after that event, after seeing him play about five times.”
As for Braun, Self is equally excited about his immediate and long-range potential.
“Christian is a player that we have followed watching him play through his AAU team, MoKan, but also through his highly successful career at Blue Valley Northwest,” Self said. “We have been aware of him for a long time, but this summer is when he really intrigued us. He’s a player that has great size and great range. He’s an athlete that can make plays above the rim and, with his versatility, we feel like he’s a perfect fit for what we are trying to do.
“It will certainly be a transition for both of these guys stepping into the college game, but we anticipate them both to be guys that can contribute immediately."