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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

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McGary selected 21st by Thunder as Beilein beats reporters to the punch

Allison Farrand/Daily
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By Daniel Feldman, Daily Sports Editor
Published June 26, 2014

NEW YORK — As it worked out, Mitch McGary wasn’t even close to being on the edge of being a second-round pick.

With the 21st pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, the Oklahoma City Thunder selected the former Wolverines forward.

Rumors floated around heading into Thursday night that McGary had a first-round promise from a team. More rumors indicated that team was the Charlotte Hornets with the 24th pick. As it turned out, McGary did have a first-round suitor, and Michigan coach John Beilein knew before anyone else.

Not known for tweeting, Beilein beat all the media to the scoop, tweeting out minutes before the selection, “Another Wolverine about to go up on the board. #GoBlue #WeWork”

And wouldn’t you know it, Beilein was correct. Acting as an oracle, Beilein predicted what NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced from the stage.

Beilein came to New York as a guest of newly minted Sacramento Kings guard Nik Stauskas. Sitting at Stauskas’ table along with Stauskas’ parents, brother and agent, Beilein spent his predraft time taking photos for and with the Stauskas family.

Meanwhile, McGary will bring a physical presence to an already strong Thunder team. Anchored by Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City fell two wins short of the NBA Finals.

McGary voiced his excitement by tweeting, “THUNDER UP!! Couldn’t be happier.”

While Beilein was among the first to call McGary would be selected by the Thunder, he was also very supportive of the big man, tweeting out his admiration for McGary’s appreciative personality.

Though it remains to be seen how long it will take McGary to get back to 100 percent, as he is still recovering from lower back surgery in January, the Thunder clearly think McGary’s aggressive, fast-paced offense will fit in. Especially its superstar Durant.

“Congrats Mitch!! Welcome,” Durant tweeted.