Thursday, August 22, 2019

KU forward David McCormack thankful for trying freshman season, ready for more in Year 2

Kansas forward David McCormack (33) ties up a ball with West Virginia forward Logan Routt (31) during the second half, Friday, March 15, 2019 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

Kansas forward David McCormack (33) ties up a ball with West Virginia forward Logan Routt (31) during the second half, Friday, March 15, 2019 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.


Few moments are more valuable to the Kansas basketball program than the early days of summer when returning sophomores offer help to incoming freshman trying to figure things out for the first time.

With as many as six freshmen slated to join the Kansas basketball roster this season, the Jayhawks again will be introducing some new faces to their fan base.

And while many of those names are already familiar to most die-hard KU fans, their true experiences have yet to begin.

That’s not to say Christian Braun, Issac McBride, Jalen Wilson, Tristan Enaruna and Michael Jankovich have not been working hard during summer conditioning and pickup games at all hours of the day. But most of the work done this summer was done to lay the foundation for what’s to come.

KU sophomore David McCormack remembers feeling more comfortable with each passing day of the summer a year ago.

But none of what he experienced then could prepare the former four-star prospect for what he encountered from September through March, when he played five minutes or fewer 10 times during the 2018-19 season but also finished the year by starting the final 13 games of a 26-10 season.

“Coming in young and facing adversity like (that), I don’t think many freshmen had to embark on a journey like ours,” recalled McCormack while looking back at Year 1.

While the ups and downs, new experiences and lumps that came with the ride made for a memorable season in a number of ways, McCormack said he and his young teammates learned from all of it and should be better for it during the 2019-20 season.

That was particularly true of his role as a starter down the stretch.

“It was a great feeling,” he admitted. “You hold more responsibility, you hold more weight and because of that you’re looked up to more. I enjoy that feeling.”

No matter what McCormack’s role was on any given night, he tried to treat every game, and all of his duties, the same each time out.

His personality and demeanor are well-suited to that approach and he learned long ago how to control his emotions and put them into his performance.

“Playing with pride, playing with heart, just doing whatever you can in your own capabilities to help your team however you can,” said McCormack when asked to list the areas he focused on most during his freshman season. “I take the things I need to take away from each game and that always makes me want to get better — win, loss, it doesn’t matter.”

That mindset served McCormack well this summer, too.

In June, KU coach Bill Self called McCormack the most improved player on the roster. And his lead-by-example tenacity, especially while facing sizable challenges named Udoka Azubuike, Silvio De Sousa and Mitch Lightfoot, proved beneficial to the newcomers who were watching.

But it was not the fact that McCormack had it all figured out that was most valuable. It was the fact that he was still working as hard as ever to keep improving that showed his true character.

“I just want to improve my game in all aspects and help the team however I can,” he said in June. “I think it’s just a full development, strengthening my strengths and strengthening my weaknesses as well.”

“I wouldn’t say I’m in perfect shape,” he added. “I think I still have a ways to go, but I definitely have moved in the manner that I wanted to.”

Because of that, along with similar attitudes from his returning teammates and the growth of the newcomer, McCormack has high hopes for Round 2.

“This year is definitely going to be a great year,” he said. “I have a lot of faith and a lot of expectations in this team and I know we’re going to hold up to them.”


Brian Wilson 3 years, 1 month ago

Mac should get 15 mpg behind Dok. But who knows....maybe we see them together as twin towers. I can't wait to see how the lineup falls.

another topic thats kind of not in the news....UK is having probs in the Nike scandal:

Len Shaffer 3 years, 1 month ago

Wait a minute, Brian, are you saying that a John Calipari team might get in trouble with the NCAA??? I'm shocked, shocked I tell you!

Brett McCabe 3 years, 1 month ago

If Self starts playing the best players, then Mac is your starter. But hey, QG started every game, so who knows? My hope is that Self recognizes that the Cops are Coming and he needs to get a title in before penalties begin.

Brian Skelly 3 years, 1 month ago

  It may sound odd, but Im really intrigued by where McCormick is developmentally as much as anyone else on the roster.

   His athleticism is great and his motor is as well.    I know Self loves Dok,  but I hope he gets serious playing time.

Dirk Medema 3 years, 1 month ago

Brian - There has been some talk of David extending his range so it’s possible that he could back up both Dok and Silvio. Unfortunately, because most teams don’t have 2 bigs, I have a feeling we’re going to get forced into a more perimeter lineup with one of the wings at the 4. That might eat into his minutes as much as anything.

Barry Weiss 3 years, 1 month ago

Silvio may be the true beast of our bigs. He was coming on big time a couple of years ago. This depth is really great to have.

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