KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL) – After a strong turnout and a lot of fun last year, former Gate City and professional basketball player Mac McClung returned to lead his second annual basketball camp at Kingsport on Sunday morning.
With the help of former Blue Devil teammates and coaches, McClung gave the youngest group of campers a morning to remember. The boys and girls participated in exercises, games and even received a photo and an autograph from McClung.
Prior to his success in the Division I ranks and as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers organization last season, McClung was just a kid who loved being on the court.
“I remember – I was the same way,” he said. “I thought those guys that were in high school were the coolest thing in the world. So to see that on their faces is very humbling and a great experience.
McClung has been back in the area for about a week and a half, following his NBA G-League Rookie of the Year season with the South Bay Lakers.
“There were so many first and second round picks, [coach] telling me he didn’t get that award,” he said. “I felt really grateful and if I hadn’t had my teammates and my coaches, this would never have happened.”
He averaged 21.6 points, 7.6 assists and 6.6 rebounds per game in 27 G-League games this season.
“I feel like this year was probably the biggest year for growth,” he said. “I have to play playmaker – I like to pass the ball and I have to show it. I feel like it really opened the eyes of scouts to the fact that I can play playmaker at the top.
McClung is currently on a two-way contract with the Lakers, but says he understands the fluidity of NBA business as the 2022-23 NBA Summer League approaches.
“I spoke to Rob [Pelinka] right before I left,” he said. “We had a meeting. We’re just going to see where – it’s a business – whatever happens happens. But, you know, I really like being with the Laker culture. We’ll see – I feel like we’ll see what happens and we’ll see in the Summer League where I end up going.
But, wherever next season takes him, a set of guiding principles will follow.
“Just worry about being the best version of yourself every day,” he said. “Try to improve every day. When you lead with the right heart and try to do all the right things, it will eventually come to fruition.
It fits perfectly with the advice he would give to the dozens of local campers he met.
“A lot of people these days try to tell kids a certain narrative or what they should or shouldn’t do,” he said. “So just follow your instincts and whatever you want to do – you really can do it.”
McClung said he would return to Los Angeles to continue his offseason training. The 2022 NBA Summer League is set to begin on July 7 in Las Vegas.