NBA Draft Blog Interview with Mickey McConnell

Over the last few seasons, one of the best stories in college basketball has been the rise of St. Mary’s to challenge Gonzaga’s stranglehold atop the West Coast Conference.  Recently, I had the opportunity to talk to one of the main reasons for the St. Mary’s rise, guard Mickey McConnell as he attends draft workouts and continues preparation for the next step in his basketball career.  McConnell (over 16 points and 6 assists per game in 2010-11), who was a driving force on the team’s Sweet 16 run in 2010, went from a little-used reserve to the go-to player in some very big games.  Along with this, he was a great guy to talk to, as you can see from the discussion before.  I spoke to him after he worked out in Houston, and was getting ready for further workouts with Golden State and Sacramento, among others.  Enjoy Mickey McConnell in his own words :

Mickey McConnell NCAA Basketball Tournament - Second Round - Providence

Mickey on how he ended up at St. Mary’s:


“Originally from Arizona, I was supposed to go to (University of) New Mexico, but then the coach was let go, and myself and Ty Abbott ended up looking for other places to play.  St. Mary’s seemed like a very good fit to me, and it was a program on the rise which I liked a lot.”

Mickey on whether this season’s end was a disappointment:


“Of course it was a disappointment, especially after making the Sweet 16 the year before.  Once we didn’t get into the NCAA Tournament, we hoped to make a run in the NIT, bt it just didn’t happen.”


Mickey on how he improved as a player while at St. Mary’s:


“I improved tremendously as a player.  I went from not playing at all and sitting on the bench to starting and playing major minutes for a very good team.  The confidence I gained from the team and the coaches had a lot to do with it.  Also, I kept working on my shooting ability and trying to make myself a threat on the court.  The freedom and control the coaches gave me helped me a lot to learn how to control the pace of a game.”


Mickey on how he has been preparing for the NBA Draft:


“Well, I only graduated from school 2 weeks ago, so I had been spending my time working out on campus while finishing up school.  Since then it has been very hectic going from place to place for workouts.”

Mickey on his game’s biggest strengths:


“My shooting ability is definitely one of my strengths.  I have confidence in my shot from anywhere.  But as it relates to the NBA, my ability to run the pick and roll, knowing how to use it, is definitely a strength.  We ran it a lot at St. Mary’s, so I am used to using it.”

Mickey on what he wants to improve about his game:


“On the defensive side, I want to improve my lateral quickness, how I move my feet on defense.  I know I may not be as athletic or as quick as a lot of these other guys, but I know I can make up for it with my skill and basketball IQ.”


Mickey on what he wants teams and fans to know about him:


“I work hard and will do whatever I need to do to fit in on any team.  I will do whatever the teams needs, no role is below me.  I know I can go in and keep a team’s offense moving and flowing, and use my strengths to help the team win.”

I want to thank Mickey for his time and I wish him the best of luck as he looks to fulfill his dream of getting to the NBA.  Thank you also to Conor Samartin and Priority Sports for arranging this interview.  Tomorrow, back to scouting reports and the start of the NBA team draft outlooks.