Last year, Kameron McGusty was forced to sit on the bench for the entire season.
“That’s probably the hardest part right there, not being able to suit up with the people that you practice with,” McGusty said. “But it builds good character.”
McGusty played the first two seasons of his collegiate career at the University of Oklahoma.
At Oklahoma, McGusty played all 31 games and averaged 10.9 points as a freshman, but the following year his minutes reduced his as Trae Young emerged as the team’s superstar. McGusty still averaged eight points and 1.9 rebounds while shooting 42.3 percent from the field in 32 appearances as a sophomore.
The guard announced his intent to transfer to Miami at the end of his sophomore season and in accordance with NCAA transfer rules, McGusty had to sit out last season.
The 6’5, 192-pound player used that time to make improvements to his game, which included spending a lot of time in the weight room.
“One of the things he wanted to get stronger, to really be in the weight room and work on his body,” said head coach Jim Larrañaga.
He also spent a lot of time on the practice court, attempting to perfect his 3-point shot. Associate head coach Chris Caputo worked with McGusty every day.
The hard work is paying off for the junior. This season, he is averaging 14.8 points through the first four games played.
“My conditioning is a little better, I feel like I’m a little stronger on the court, my decision making is better,” McGusty said. “I just think overall I’m a lot better player.”
A 17-point, 10 rebound double-double helped Miami defeat the University of Central Florida in its first road game of the season last week.
Last Saturday, McGusty scored 22 points in the team’s win over Quinnipiac University, which tied a career-high in points, which he set during his freshman season at Oklahoma.
One of McGusty’s biggest strengths on the court is his versatility. He has displayed his ability to play point guard, shooting guard, small forward and power forward.
“That’s unusual for a perimeter player,” Larrañaga said.
“He’s that type of player where I think he can defend three or four positions and also play without the ball,” Caputo said. “He’s shown the ability, similar to Bruce Brown, where he can see some things and make some reads at 6’5 that some of the smaller guys can’t make.”
McGusty’s improved play has been supplemented by the strong bond he formed with his teammates during his time off.
“Last year was a real good year for me to jell with my teammates,” McGusty said. “I just have so much fun going out there and competing with my teammates.”
Miami will no doubt continue to rely on McGusty as a big-time scorer and defender, as the team looks to avenge last year’s losing season and return to the NCAA tournament.