ATLANTA — Before he emerged as one of the nation's most coveted basketball prospects late in his high school career, Michigan big man Mitch McGary was known for something else around his neighborhood in Indiana.
Having watched classmate Spencer Stockwell delivering newspapers on a unicycle when they were kids, McGary became intrigued enough to ask his friend to let him give the contraption a try. His older brother eventually bought him a unicycle of his own for his 12th birthday, a gift McGary cherished so much that he spent all his free time for weeks perfecting his riding ability.
"I fell on my face plenty of times," McGary said. "Busted up my knees, elbows and hands, but it was all worth it finally achieving that goal."
McGary eventually he became proficient enough at his unusual hobby that he could jump curbs and even fill in for Stockwell on his paper route and ride the unicycle around their 1.4-mile neighborhood loop without falling. He said Friday on the eve of Michigan's Final Four matchup with Syracuse that he still owns three different types of unicycles, each varying heights and wheel widths.
That McGary can ride a unicycle has received as much attention the past few weeks as his late-season emergence as a formidable interior scoring threat. Not only did ESPN broadcast crew Verne Lundquist and Bill Raftery mention it during a game earlier this season, a photo of a well-coiffed McGary riding his unicycle before a high school dance spread quickly via social media this week.Read More »from Michigan freshman Mitch McGary is as proficient on a unicycle as he is on the basketball floor