Michigan's Mitch McGary was considered one of the biggest names among NCAA basketball players who had yet to declare their intention to return for the 2014-15 season or enter the upcoming NBA draft. You can now add McGary to draft previews instead.
Yahoo Sports' Dan Wetzel reports McGary will forego his junior year at Michigan and declare for the NBA draft -- in part because he faces a one-year suspension after testing positive for marijuana. The school also released a statement.
McGary told Wetzel he accepted when offered marijuana on campus prior to the start of the NCAA tournament. His March Madness experience consisted of a spot on the bench while he continued to recover from a back injury that limited him to just eight games this past season, all in the first months of the Wolverines' campaign.
"I always turned it down," McGary told Yahoo Sports. "But that night I didn't."
Weeks later, as McGary and his teammates celebrated a Sweet Sixteen win over Tennessee, an NCAA representative told McGary that he had been selected to undergo a random drug test, despite not having played in months.
He was later called into a meeting with Michigan head coach John Beilein and athletic director Dave Brandon, who told him he failed the drug test and informed him he faced a minimum one-year suspension by the NCAA. The NCAA's penalty is much harsher than the three-game suspension that comes with a failed drug test administered by Michigan.
McGary said he passed eight Michigan drug tests over his two years in Ann Arbor, including five in the first months of the season.
"[That's why] this was a surprise," Beilein told Yahoo Sports on Thursday evening. "This is not Mitch McGary. Not the one I know."
McGary could have just entered the draft without revealing his positive pot test. But he told Yahoo Sports he wanted to own up to his mistake.
"To all the Michigan fans out there, 'I'm sorry,' " he said. "I did not want to end it this way. Basically, I just messed up. But we have certain rules and regulations that we need to abide by and I slipped up and didn't abide by them. Things happen and you have to move on from them."
Beilein backed McGary's accountability and complimented his integrity.
"Mitch admitted it immediately," Beilein said of confronting him with the positive test. "We preach integrity each day in this program and this is reflective of that, someone coming out and saying I used very poor judgment and I regret it and I want to move forward. I think a lot of people will forgive people who make youthful mistakes."
McGary, who was an integral aspect of Michigan's run to the 2013 national title game as freshman, was a preseason All-America selection prior to his injury. His back problems could push him out of the first round.