Mac McClung: A Product of Gate City Makes His Mark with A Lot of Athleticism

Photo courtesy of Johnnie Photography.

By David Cordova

Dunking is a great art form that many people love to see when the game of basketball is being played. It is the one part of the game that people look forward to seeing in addition to everything else that one sees in the game.

Mac McClung is a player throws down with powerful dunks with authority. The 6-foot-2 senior guard is a player with a lot of athleticism and also a player that has a lot of playmaking skills, but based on many of his highlights that are seen on YouTube, he is primarily known as a dunker. In his younger days, he worked on plyometrics, which is the reason for his amazing vertical leap that you see today.

“You know, I think the main thing for me, is my competitiveness,” says McClung on what motivates him to be successful on the hardwood. “Just growing up having that competitive fire.”

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McClung plays with a competitive spirit every game. He looks toward his opponent while on defense. (Courtesy of Johnnie Photography)

McClung hails from the small town of Gate City, Virginia, which has a population of 2,000. Gate City is mainly a football town, and as far as basketball is concerned, the last player from the town to play Division I college basketball was Josh Shoemaker, who played four years at Wake Forest University from 1997 to 2001.

When asked what it is like to be from a small town like Gate City, McClung replied, “It’s a different kind of basketball.”

As a sophomore at Gate City High School, he first gained his athletic leaping ability, and by his junior season, he was in full throttle with his leaping and also with his scoring, as he scored 64 points in a Virginia High School League regional tournament game. That season, he also averaged 29 points, 5.5 assists and three steals per game and was named the Bristol Herald-Courier’s Player of the Year.

This past season, as a senior, he amassed 2,801 career points and broke the single-season record of points in a season that was set by NBA Hall of Famer Allen Iverson, who hails from Hampton, Virginia, as a junior in 1992-93. Iverson scored 948 points and it took him thirty games to achieve that feat. For McClung, it took him twenty-five games to break the record, and he finished the season with 1,153 points.

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McClung during the Iverson Classic dunk contest. He is wearing the Georgetown jersey of NBA Hall of Famer Allen Iverson. (Photo courtesy of Johnnie Photography)

When asked about having the distinction of knocking off Iverson’s single-season record, he replied, “I mean, it’s alright. I’m more proud of being a state champion, but the record’s going to be broken one day.”

He capped off his senior season at Gate City by leading them to a VHSL Class 2 state championship and averaged 38.4 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals per game and was once again named the Player of the Year by the Bristol Herald-Courier.

In October of last year, McClung committed to Georgetown University, which is also the alma mater of Iverson, and will be the primary ball-handler for the Hoyas. When asked what made him commit to the Big East program, he replied, “I’m just going to be competitive and I like to win. That’s my main thing. You know, I’m really grateful to Coach [Patrick] Ewing. He’s a winner, too. So, I went to go with him and he believed in me.”

On April 19th, McClung competed in the second annual Iverson Roundball Classic in Souderton, Pennsylvania. In the dunk contest two days prior, he wore Iverson’s jersey and dunked over the host, causing a roar from the crowd. On the day of the actual game, he showed that not only he could make highlight-reel plays above the rim, but also that he could set players up for baskets and also shoot from long-range and get to the basket.

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McClung does a 360-degree dunk to end the Iverson Classic. (Photo courtesy of Johnnie Photography)

When asked about playing in the Iverson Classic, he replied, “It feels really good, like I said, I’m really grateful, and you know I [was] excited.”

Now that he’s going off to play in the Big East Conference next season, he’s going to be playing in front of bigger audiences than the one he’s used to in rural Virginia.

When asked how he wants his legacy to be remembered in the state of Virginia years from now, he replied, “You know, I want them to remember me first as a leader and a competitor, I brought my team to its first state championship.”

However, with all the accolades, he still feels like he has a lot to improve in his game. “My weakness is, I got a lot of things. I got to get better at everything, so you know, I look at everything in the game and running in the game or slowing it down, that could be big for me.”

When asked what’s next for him? “Hopefully, a whole lot of winning, that’s the main thing I want to do is just win.”

Pretty soon, the college basketball world will know all about the unranked player from Gate City.

 

Highlights of Mac McClung:

Courtesy of Ballislife.

Courtesy of Ballislife East.

Courtesy of Overtime.

Courtesy of Ballislife.

Courtesy of Ballislife.

Courtesy of Ballislife.

Courtesy of MakePlayz.

Courtesy of MakePlayz.

 

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