Auburn, ME – Head Men's Basketball Coach, Dave Gonyea, is pleased to announce Ellon Mark McDonald, a graduate from Lake Nona High School has signed on with the 2018-19 Mustangs. McDonald, a 6'1" combo guard from Orlando, FL comes highly recommended from his prepl coach and CM Assistant Coach Jesse Dixon.
According to his Prep Coach, Dean Sandoe, "Mark is a great kid, has natural ability, and became (as the season wore on) a team leader. Kids flock to him, like his competitive nature and is a phenomenal basketball player. You won't be disappointed."
Mark responded to the questions below.
Why did you choose CM?
I chose CM because Coach Gonyea was honest with me from the first time we talked. After speaking with Coach Gonyea and Coach Dixon, I felt a connection that I didn't feel with any other coaches recruiting me. I've talked to future teammates and I've heard positive things about the program. I'm looking forward to building friendships and maturing on and off the court at CM.
What did you like most about the campus?
What I liked most about the campus is how close everything is, the walk to classes and the gym isn't far from the rooms.
How do you think playing college basketball will differ from your previous experience?
I think playing college basketball will be more physical in terms of playing against bigger guys every night. But I also feel that me doing a year of prep after high school helped me out a lot because I got the chance to play against D2, and juco schools. I also grew a lot as a player in that year of prep which also helped a lot. I don't think I will have a problem adjusting because I've had the opportunity to play against that level of competition.
What are you most looking forward to about attending and playing basketball at CM?
I'm looking forward to going to college and experiencing that. I feel like being away from home while being at my prep school really prepared and matured me for college. I'm also looking forward to being a part of the team, bonding, becoming close on and off the court and playing games.
What do you think you can bring to the team next year?
I know I can bring energy. Whether I'm on the court or not, I'm going to have high energy for the guys on the court, and when I'm on the court I'm a threat on the boards, can get out in transition, hit shots, and also facilitate the ball. I also value the defensive end and take pride in getting stops and not giving up easy baskets.
Describe your basketball experience.
My basketball experience has been great. Played all four years of high school and travel, had some great times and learned a lot. I've really seen my game change because of me maturing which is a good thing. My goal has always been to play college basketball and I'm excited to take that next step toward my dreams attending CM.
What is your biggest strength in basketball?
Many people will say I shoot the ball well, and that's something I take a lot of time and work on and get a lot of reps up. However, I feel my biggest strength is being able to adjust to any situation and be whatever I need to be for my team to win. I'm a positive guy on the court even when things aren't going the teams way. I'm always trying to get guys going. I want to see everyone on the team succeed as bad as I want to see myself succeed and I feel that's my biggest strength.
Coach Gonyea added, "Credit Coach Dixon with finding Mark. Our program has been fortunate to take advantage of Coaches contacts in Florida. He will be a good head coach someday!"
"In terms of Mark, I liked him the first time we spoke. One thing that stood out was his commitment to team over self. He informed me early on, if it took him sitting on the bench and waving the towel to be on our team that is what he would do. After watching him play, I suspect we will see him on the court more than on the bench. He gets after it, handles the ball, and shoots it pretty good. However, defensively I think he can make an immediate impact. He was his high school team captain for two years and has leadership skills. We are very excited he is coming to Auburn."