Grad Transfer Mack Visiting SLU
Mack was recruited by Shaka Smart to VCU out of high school, and followed Smart to Texas when he took the head coaching job there. After a solid freshman season, he became the Longhorns’ leading scorer as a sophomore, averaging 14.8 points in 31.3 minutes per game, but his relationship with Smart soured and he was suspended indefinitely for violating a team rule in January 2017. A month later, he requested a transfer and headed to Alabama.
Mack sat out the 2017-2018 season per NCAA transfer rules. This past season, he played in 34 games and was the fourth-leading scorer for the Crimson Tide, with 9.0 points per game on a shooting line of .417/.333/.560. He entered the NCAA transfer portal after head coach Avery Johnson was fired and replaced by Nate Oats. He earned his degree from Alabama in May and is eligible immediately.
It was reported that Mack’s recruitment was a three-school race between Clemson, Oregon, and Houston, but that he was also hearing from Illinois, Georgia Tech, and Saint Louis. Breaking down Mack’s potential at the five non-SLU landing spots, he should have a nice opportunity at any of them:
-Oregon has three open spots and only five returning scholarship players.
-Houston lost three of its top four scorers to graduation and the pros.
-Illinois returns most of its roster and scoring, but its core is young and could use an experienced scorer.
-Georgia Tech lost only three players from last year’s roster, which lacked scoring punch and could use a boost.
-Clemson graduated its top three scorers, and four of the top five. The Tigers also recruited Mack out of high school, which is about two hours away from campus.
At SLU, Mack would slot into the starting lineup immediately alongside Jordan Goodwin, Hasahn French, and likely Javonte Perkins and Fred Thatch. At 6’6″ and 225 lbs., Mack has the ability to guard multiple positions in the Atlantic 10 and give head coach Travis Ford a lot of lineup flexibility. He can step out and shoot, hitting 33.3% from the perimeter this past season, and has attempted four or more three-pointers per game in all three of his collegiate seasons.
Mack declared for the NBA draft and withdrew, coming away with a lot of feedback after working out for several teams. He said the experience of competing against a number of future pros improved his game and led him to concentrate on certain areas to develop, including his ball handling and improving his efficiency from the perimeter.
A few weeks ago, Travis Ford said he would only use his last scholarship if he could land a “difference maker”. That was before Mike Lewis II left SLU, leaving two scholarships to use. Mack definitely would provide Ford with a difference maker, with one more scholarship left to use or carry over to 2020.