The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


July 30, 2013

Pitt State's McGee signs with German pro team

Pittsburg State basketball coach Kevin Muff said one of the first things JaVon McGee told him was that he wanted to continue his basketball career after college.

That dream became a reality this week.

McGee, who graduated from Pitt State as one of the school’s top all-time rebounders, signed to play German professional basketball with the Iserlohn Kangaroos.

“From day one when I got here, he told me he wanted to play after college,” Muff said on Tuesday. “It’s special to see him be rewarded for all his hard work and to see him achieve that. It’s great for him and it’s great for the program.”

McGee, who could not be reached for comment on Tuesday, finished his career earlier this year with 1,113 points and 716 rebounds. The 6-foot-6, 235-pounder from Kansas City, Mo.,  is second all-time in school history in rebounds and 13th in scoring.

“The scout and agent who signed him talked to me and one of the things they really liked about JaVon was his versatility,” Muff said. “We had him do some specific things for our game plan, but he has a great 15-foot jump shot and he can post up and score over guys pretty well for being 6-6.

“What stood out is how hard he played. He ran the floor, he was unselfish, he was a great rebounder ... the little things that will translate well to the European style of play.”

Iserlohn finished last season 20-4 and in second in the West division of the Regionalliga.

McGee signed with the Kangaroos at the same time as Orlan Jackman, a 6-foot-7 forward who played for Oklahoma City University.

McGee signed with Pittsburg State under coach Gene Iba, who retired after McGee’s freshman season. McGee finished his career with Muff and helped the Gorillas to an 18-10 record this last season.

“He is one of the kids I admire most and he’s the only player who stuck it out all the way with the new change in coaches when I first got the job,” Muff said. “Some stayed around, but be was there all the way for three years. I’m very thankful to him for the trust he put in me. We were able to start off on an adventure together and it was neat to see the hard work and effort.

“We were able to turn a corner and start something here and create some wins along the way.”

McGee was a two-time All-MIAA performer for the Gorillas, averaging 13 points and seven rebounds as a junior before averaging 12.3 points and  seven rebounds as a senior.

He missed four games of his senior season with a shoulder injury.

“He was a tireless worker who put in a lot of hours on his own behind the scenes,” Muff said. “He always had his self in the best shape possible ... He is a great motivator and that reflected in the way he played the game.”

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