What Kansas' David McCormack arrived at the 2022 NBA G League Elite Camp aiming to do

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Kansas forward David McCormack reacts to a play during the second half of a Final Four game during the NCAA tournament against Villanova on April 2, 2022, in New Orleans.
Kansas forward David McCormack reacts to a play during the second half of a Final Four game during the NCAA tournament against Villanova on April 2, 2022, in New Orleans.

David McCormack’s opening scrimmage at the 2022 NBA G League Elite Camp saw him team up with a familiar face Monday, albeit one he went up against a number of times during their college careers.

McCormack, who spent the past four seasons at Kansas, and Brady Manek, whose career started at Oklahoma and ended at North Carolina, played as members of Team 4 at Wintrust Arena in Chicago. In fact, McCormack said after the scrimmage that Manek was one of the first people he saw upon making the trip to Chicago, and that the two were able to talk about how things were going. And McCormack laughed before explaining it wasn’t weird to him that they were on the same squad after playing against each other last month in the national championship game of the NCAA tournament.

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But while the longer McCormack continues to pursue a career as a professional basketball player, the more likely the chance more situations like that arise, that thought didn’t occupy any space in his mindset for the week. McCormack came in wanting to show each scout and coach what he’s capable of doing, at an event that leads into the NBA’s draft combine. And after a nine-point and three-rebound performance Monday in a close loss, McCormack has confidence he started the week off the right way.

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“I’ve done it at the collegiate level,” McCormack told The Topeka Capital-Journal in a phone interview. “I know a lot of people kind of see me as a brute force, which I am, but there’s more to me as far as having a good head on my shoulders and knowing the game and knowing how to play with all sorts of personnel, all sorts of guards, wings, and playing with other bigs as well. And I think that’s what I’m really just trying to showcase and have done a, I think a, good job so far just giving a glimpse as to that.”

McCormack said most of his pre-draft workouts have taken place in Atlanta, and that he’s been focusing a little bit of everything as he tries to improve his understanding of the game. That means working on a lot of pick-and-roll and pick-and-pop-type moves, dribble hand-offs, finding teammates cutting from the corners and more. He’s trying to add elements to his game.

McCormack said he didn’t really come into the pre-draft process with any expectations, and had been told that he should just enjoy what comes along with it. He anticipated the possibility of ups and downs. He described each step along the way as a blessing.

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McCormack finished his senior season with the Jayhawks as one of the co-winners of the team’s Danny Manning Mr. Jayhawk Award. He averaged 10.6 points and seven rebounds per game across 40 appearances, which included 37 starts. And in that national championship victory against the Tar Heels, he collected 15 points and 10 rebounds for a critical double-double.

“It felt good,” said McCormack, speaking to being able to scrimmage Monday. “A lot of people, as well as myself, have been training. I know they’ve probably been doing 3-on-3, 5-on-5s, but to actually have a live-ball game, have refs out here, have eyes on you, feels great. There’s no better feeling than competing.”

McCormack concluded the 2021-22 campaign with, still, one more season of eligibility available due to the pandemic. But he said he’s “100 percent in on” his dream and goal of making it to the NBA. He added he’s “stepping forward to that next level.”

There’s a little more than a month left, ahead of the upcoming NBA draft. Thinking about what’s to come in the weeks ahead, there wasn’t just one thing on McCormack’s mind that excited him. He said everything does.

"A lot of people don’t get to take part in this,” McCormack said, “and I get to talk to … many people, meet many organizations, to travel and just do what I love — which is playing basketball in front of many people who have a passion and love for the game as well as I do.”

Jordan Guskey covers University of Kansas Athletics at The Topeka Capital-Journal. Contact him at jmguskey@gannett.com or on Twitter at @JordanGuskey.

This article originally appeared on Topeka Capital-Journal: NBA G League Elite Camp gives David McCormack a chance to show skills