Former Georgetown standout , becoming the latest heralded transfer to join Chris Beard’s program. Under standard transfer rules, the 6-foot-2 guard should now be required by the NCAA to sit next season. McClung, however, laid the foundation weeks ago to at least give himself a fighting chance to receive a waiver to play immediately by providing a carefully-worded statement to ESPN that could double as a blueprint for all other transfers.
Here’s what he said: “It was a number of different events that made me feel I had no choice but to transfer from Georgetown. I really wanted to stay, but things throughout my career made me realize that I couldn’t.”
Ladies and gentlemen, that’s how you do it.
Roughly one million players have announced their intention to transfer in advance of next season, and the overwhelming majority will apply for a waiver to play immediately. I have no idea how many will get one. But what I do know is that McClung knew exactly what he was doing when he provided that statement above.
He didn’t talk about his role. He didn’t talk about style of play.
He didn’t say a single word about basketball.
When asked to explain the reasoning behind his transfer, McClung kept it simple and just said there were a “number of different events” that made him feel he had “no choice” but to leave Georgetown. Then he added that he “really wanted to stay” but that there were things that made him realize he “couldn’t.”
It was a perfect statement — vague enough to not box himself in to any one story but clear enough to get it on record that McClung didn’t want to transfer as much as he felt like he had no choice but to transfer. Whether it’s sincere or not, I’ll let others decide. But what McClung clearly did is give the NCAA absolutely nothing to use against him when he ultimately applies for a waiver to play next season.
Other transfers should be so smart.
Based on countless conversations with coaches, I’ve been banging this drum for years: the best way for a student-athlete to give himself a good chance to receive a transfer waiver is to never speak of basketball when asked about his decision to transfer. Yet time and time again, a player will announce his intention to change schools and publicly talk about his desire to play point guard or compete on a bigger stage or get more playing time. I can appreciate the honesty, I guess. But if the goal is to actually obtain a waiver to play immediately, it’s just about the dumbest thing a basketball player can do.
Mac McClung avoided the dumb.
He played it right.
None of it guarantees it’ll definitely lead to him getting a waiver to play immediately, of course. And, as I’ve said and written many times, it’s a shame that McClung or anybody else is required to get a waiver. Hopefully, the NCAA will change that ridiculous rule in January and start treating basketball players the same way most student-athletes are treated. As always, we’ll see. But there’s no denying McClung has at least laid the groundwork for a successful waiver request. And if he really does have examples of “a number of different events” that made him feel he had “no choice” but to leave Georgetown, odds are he’ll be suiting up next season for Texas Tech, a year before most other transfers will be allowed to play again.