With the Men’s Basketball season right around the bend for the Roadrunners, get to know one of the staples of Coach Clark’s squad, Mitch McCarron.
Born in June of 1992 in Alice Springs, Australia, son of Don and Louise McCarron, Mitch is a Junior Guard with the Metro State Men’s Basketball team. A graduate of Genesis Christian College in 2009 where he averaged 31 points per game, a member of the Australia Under-19 team, and a member of the Queensland open school boys and Australia open school boys teams, Mitch is a guy who just can’t go out without b-ball. I love the game of basketball because of the competition,” said McCarron. “It’s something I’ve grown up around since I could walk. My parents ran a basketball stadium, so I walked around shooting in trash cans.”
That’s why it especially hurt to sit out the 2011-12 season due to NCAA transfer rules. It was extremely difficult sitting out,” said McCarron. “I just wanted to help on the floor. It was good for me to learn the system, but I would have loved the opportunity to play.”
But Mitch was willing to sit that year after playing for GCC, as he had decided it would be worth it to be able to make the switch to Metro State. “I chose Metro State because of my Under 19 Australian team coach Damien Cotter, who is good friends with Coach Clark,” said McCarron. “I trusted his advice to take Coach’s offer of a scholarship and haven’t looked back since.”
In his first year as a Roadrunner in 2012-13, Mitch averaged 13.2 points, 6.6 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.4 steals per game. According to his teammates, he makes things so much easier on the court. “He’s a great playmaker,” said Junior Guard Jamal McClerkin. “To me, the best thing he does is pass the ball.” Brandon Jefferson, his usual partner in the backcourt, loves playing with Mitch. “He’s so versatile on the court,” said Jefferson. “He scores when he needs to and dishes assist when he needs to.”At Metro, Mitch has fit in well with his teammates. They had nothing but good things to say about the Aussie off-the-court. “Mitch is a loving, caring man,” said Jefferson. “He has a great girlfriend that he loves and takes care of. He has his priorities straight and is a good friend. If you need anything, you can always go to Mitch for help.” Jamal McClerkin had just as high remarks about his teammate. “Mitch is a easy going dude,” said McClerkin. “He’s real nice, easy to go talk to. He is always willing to help you out and as a teammate that’s what you need. He just basically always has your back.”
His success along with the likes of then seniors Jonathan Morse and Demetrius Miller, Metro State had one of their best seasons in school history. Finishing 32-3 in the regular season last year, the Roadrunners had a magical year and advanced to the NCAA Division 2 National Championship Game against Drury.
With a 73-72 point lead with under 26 seconds remaining in that title game, McCarron and the rest of the Roadrunners couldn’t hold on as Drury’s Alex Hall drained two free throws in that last minute to take the Championship away from Metro State. “It was tough. It was really tough,” said McCarron. “To see the guys in the locker room, I don’t think there was a single person that wasn’t upset. I was crying my eyes out. It was tough especially for our seniors. We had such a good year and just to not get that for them was disappointing.”
Being a Junior now, Mitch hopes that things can be different this upcoming season. “I think we’ve got to take that experience and use it to our advantage,” said McCarron. “There’s no point hanging onto it. We’ve got to move on. We’ve learned. We played so well in that first half (of the Championship game) and then didn’t do the same things in the second half. We’ve got to do what we did before. We’ve got to play our game in transition and we’ve got to do that all year long.”
Before the road back to the title game begins for Mitch and the rest of the Men’s Basketball squad, Metro state will start the season with a bang. On Sept. 17, the Roadrunners were selected to participate in the 2013 NIT (National Invitational Tournament) Season Tip-Off. The Roadrunners will face Rhode Island in the first round on Nov. 18 and will play either University of Arizona or Fairleigh Dickinson one day later, depending on the first-round outcomes. Tucson, Ariz., will be the host city of the four-team West Region. The semifinals and championship will be played in New York at Madison Square Garden.
The NCAA began inviting one Division II team to participate in the predominantly Division I tournament last season, making Metro State University the second-ever Division II school to hold this honor. In 2012, Division II Alabama-Huntsville knocked off North Texas in the first round. “It’s a huge honor. Huge privilege,” said McCarron. “It’s a great opportunity for our team and to represent the college and the athletic programs and it’s going to be a great experience for us all.”
Men’s Basketball Head Coach Derrick Clark reiterated McCarron’s excitement for the opportunity. “We are honored to be only the second Division II team to compete in this prestigious tournament,” said Coach Clark. “This is a complement to Mike Dunlap, Bob Hull and all the former players that have helped create the rich tradition of Metro State basketball. We will do our best to represent the RMAC, Division II’s South Central Region and Metro State University.”
Metro State will send a very solid team to Tucson next month, having had one of the best recruiting classes in school history. “It’s good. It’s a different look,” said McCarron. “I think it’s easy to sit back and say well, (we) lost this, and (we) lost that. And then ignore what we’ve picked up as well. I think it’s a different looking group. We’re a bit taller, average height, and we’re pretty athletic.”
McCarron, along with the rest of the Men’s Basketball squad, will try to top last season and put another team banner up in the rafters. If you love basketball, make sure to get out to the Auraria Events Center starting next month to cheer on your Roadrunners!
A LITTLE EXTRA – In my sit-down with Mitch, we had some fun Q & A.
Q: What kind of music will you have on your iPod for the season?
Mitch: I like a mix. A bit of dance, a bit of metal, a bit of R&B, a bit of everything.
Q: Do you have a favorite show on TV?
Mitch: I like old school stuff. Like Dragon Ball Z.
Q: Blondes or brunettes?
Mitch: I have a girlfriend and she’s more blonde than brunette so I guess I have to say blondes, ha, ha.
Q: PlayStation or Xbox? Play FIFA?
Mitch: Xbox. I don’t play FIFA. I play Assasin’s Creed and COD (Call of Duty).
Q: No NBA??
Mitch: Nah, I’m not that good.
Q: Ever played World of Warcraft?
Mitch: I have not.
Q: What are some of your pregame rituals?
Mitch: I don’t have too many. I’m not like other guys with that. I think just as long as I get a bit of alone time just to think to myself when I’m trying to think about the game and about my match-ups. That’s probably my biggest ritual.
Q: If you could go on a date with any female celebrity, who would you pick?
Mitch: Jennifer Anniston.
Q: What’s one food that you have to or want to eat on game days?
Mitch: Some kind of pasta.