Mitch McGary on his pot use in college: 'So what'

A positive marijuana test administered by the NCAA is the reason Mitch McGary is no longer on the Michigan basketball team. What many criticized to be an archaic rule -- a year-long suspension for a single positive test -- basically forced McGary's hand, and he opted in late April to pledge for the NBA.

The Oklahoma City Thunder took the Michigan sophomore with the 21st pick in June's NBA Draft.

What made the McGary verdict so frustrating to him and plenty of others: He was tested and effectively punished when he wasn't even able to play. The test was given after Michigan's win over Tennessee in the Sweet 16 -- as McGary was still rehabbing from a back injury, an ailment that ended his season last December.

As you see in the video above, McGary spoke recently to Vice Sports about the smoking, the supsension and why he's now thankful it led to him where he is now.

"I ended up getting injured and then having this little, uh, suspension that forced me to leave," McGary said. "Overall I think it was good for me. It was a learning moment, and the way I handled it was mature and responsible, so I think people actually took my side and went against the NCAA rather than being like, 'Hey, you're some druggie.'"

A majority definitely defended, if not sided, with McGary after the NCAA's 365-day ban was official. Public perception on marijuana use has significantly changed in the past decade, and slowly but surely it seems the sports world is coming to terms with the fact that pot use, though not exactly encouraged, isn't as evil as once thought.

"I get people on Twitter and Instagram, still comment and stuff. 'Hey, you did drugs.' Well, I did. Whatever. So what. I learned from it and it was in college. ... It was the opposite of harming somebody. The NCAA's a little harsh on their penalties. I don't think the penalty fit the crime."

We here at polled approximately 80 coaches this summer on the NCAA's approach to punishing pot users. Three out of four still believe marijuana should be on the banned substance list, but that number would appear to be dwindling from recent years/decades.

"Just don't get caught," McGary bluntly, and honestly, quips near the end of the video.

CBS Sports Writer

Matt Norlander is a national award-winning writer who has been with CBS Sports since 2010. He's in his seventh season covering college basketball for CBS, and also covers the NBA Draft, the Olympics and... Full Bio

Show Comments Hide Comments
Our Latest Stories