Getting to Know David Mager
As the travel basketball season has finally come to an end, we here at Between The Lines Sports are happy to reintroduce our Q&A "Getting to Know....." and we are pleased to High 2022 Shooting Guard from Dwight-Englewood in New Jersey David Mager. David is an under the radar prospect that we believe college coaches should take a look at, so with no further ado lets get to know David Mager.
Q: So, David, tell me a little bit about your upbringing, where you live, and what you're doing now that the AAU season is over.
A: I live in Englewood, NJ. But I was born in New York and lived in New York for the first six years of my life. I went to school in the city up until about 7th grade, and then in 8th grade, I went to Dwight Englewood, and I've been there ever since
Q: I know you played with Team Rio this past summer. Has that been your team throughout your high school career?
A: Yeah, I've been playing with Rio for the past three years since about 15's.
Q: Last year was the Covid year. We played a lot of AAU down here, but I know you didn't get a lot of opportunities up there. What was it like getting back to the grind of the AAU season again?
A: It was good because my 15's year was probably the last time we had a real AAU experience. With 16's, we had these outdoor tournaments that were towards the end of the summer. We probably only had two or three of those, and they really didn't mean anything. 16's was the year we would have played in the live sessions, so this was really the first time I got a chance to play in front of many coaches. We had like 50+ coaches watching at our first game, so that was the first time I was exposed to that.
Q: I saw a couple of games when you guys were in Atlanta, and I think you've got some game, and I think you have the ability to play at the next level. What do you think your most vital attributes are right now as a player?
A: Right now, I would say shooting and getting to the basket. I ride my jump shot a lot, but I can score in various ways, and I'm athletic, which helps on the defensive end.
Q: What's your vert measurement?
A: The last time I measured it, about three or four months ago, it was about a 40-inch vert.
Q: As a shooter, are you better at shooting off the catch or the dribble?
A: It doesn't matter to me. I like shooting off the dribble, and I like shooting off the catch. I do a lot more catch-and-shoot in AAU as opposed to in school, where I'm probably shooting off the dribble more. In school, they do scouting reports, so I'm really not getting any catch-and-shoot jumpers. But I can do either one.
Q: I remember when I was playing, if I was thinking about a shot off the dribble, it always came to me in rhythm, and I was playing within the flow of the game; it would always feel better on my release. Does one feel better than the other, or does one happen more subconsciously where you're just playing, and you don't have to think about it?
A: I guess off the catch is a little more in the flow of the game. I'm able to create my own shot, but anytime you can get somebody to drive in and kick it out so you can hit a three, it feels way more in the flow of the game.
Q: I met your dad in Atlanta. It seems like your whole team has a huge support system, and almost everybody had someone there. Who would you say your overall support system is as a basketball player?
A: Yeah, my dad came to like all the games at the live sessions. Definitely, my Dad and My mom is always on the live streams watching every game. Then I have a sister, and she supports me too. Outside of my family, I have a couple of trainers and mentors. My trainer Jason Cole is always mentoring me and telling me what changes to make.
Q: What kind of things does your trainer encourage you to do? Does he watch your games and give you feedback on the things you do well and the things you don't do well?
A: He'll give me feedback and tell me what he sees from his perspective and point of view. Then I look at it, take what he says, and put it into my game. Another person who helps me out a lot is Rick Barry. He's been mentoring me since I was like ten years old. He's watched a couple of my games, and he'll tell me a lot of detailed stuff like you played well today but get your shot up a little higher and hold your guide hand and follow through. Then if my dad ever catches me watching when the ball goes up, he'll tell me to crash the boards and stuff like that. He's very detail-oriented as well.
Q: Right now, you're still in summer. Are you working out? Are you training? Are you just chilling now that AAU is over? What does a typical day look like for you?
A: After July, I got home, and I took about four days off because we were traveling and playing a lot, but now I'm back to my regular summer routine. For the past four or five days, I wake up at 7:30 and work out at 8:00 with my trainer. The workout is usually shooting off the dribble and off the catch, going to the hoop, and ball handling. We do that for two hours, and then I get a lift in with him for about an hour and a half. We're usually done by around 12. I also just got some new Normatec recovery devices for my legs. They have a cryo-chamber at my gym that I use it when I finish working out. After that, I go back and rest, get food, and hang out with friends. If I'm bored, I'll go back to the gym and get shots up again.
Q: Who's in your inner circle of friends? Do you have the same friends as when you were a kid, or do you have high school and AAU friends?
A: I surround myself with people who are on the same path as me. I try not to be around people who are out drinking and doing drugs and other stuff like that. I hang out with a lot of other basketball players because I want to be with people I can relate to. It's cool too because I was with my friend Jaden the other day, and we ended up going to run hills and got shots up after. So, I'm always hanging around people on the same path as me and have the same goals. That's something that's important to me.
Q: That's a very mature answer. A lot of players now may be good, but they may not have a love for basketball. A lot of them want to be popular in basketball as opposed to being good at basketball. Where do you think that maturity that you have comes from?
A: Honestly, I think it just comes from my love and passion for the game. People like you said like basketball because of the attention they get or the Instagram followers they get. I love playing basketball. That time on the court is fun for me. I'm in love with the game, and I want to be the best version of myself that I can be. I think that's where it comes from.
Q: How would you describe your game?
A: 6'4". I'm primarily a two-guard, but I can play the one. I'm a shooter. Very athletic. I can get to the hoop and make plays for my teammates. I'm doing a lot in school, so I'll have games with 25 points and 8 assists or something like that because guys are so focused on me. It's easy for me to dish and get my teammates involved.
Q: Who do you compare your game to?
A: Devin Booker and Zach Lavine are two guys that I watch. I don't want to compare myself to them, but those are two guys who I try to model my game after.
Q: Would you say that you're a coachable player?
A: Definitely. When a coach tells me something, I'm able to retain it. I learned at a young age from being coached by Mike Rice to listen to what coaches are saying rather than how they're saying it, and the message will get through.
Q: What has your experience been like with Coach Rice?
A: I met Coach Rice when I was 15. He normally didn't coach us because he was coaching the 17's, but he started coaching the 17's and 15's together. I remember the first time I met him; he just ripped into me at practice. Then he coached one of our games for 15's. I didn't have a great game, an