Men's Basketball Spotlight on Ian McGinnis
After cutting his basketball teeth on the New York City playground courts against current NBA performers like Elton Brand, Erick Barkley and Ron Artest, Dartmouth co-captain Ian McGinnis brings something to the Big Green lineup that's measured by more than his imposing (6-8, 245 pounds) physical dimensions.
"Ian's earned a reputation as a rebounder but what he really gives us is toughness," says Coach Dave Faucher. "When we need a defensive stop, Ian can do it. He can make a statement and it's that kind of leadership that makes our team step up and play better."
That's what Faucher saw in 1997 when McGinnis, the city kid from Manhattan's Upper West Side, was wrapping up three league championship seasons and a record of 80-11 as a scorer-rebounder-shot blocker at Collegiate High School. He still hasn't found time to get a driver's license, a problem only when he needs to shop or get a fast food fix.
At Dartmouth, McGinnis has become a four-year starter ("...not many do that," says Faucher). While he's averaged nearly eight points per game, his reputation was established as a sophomore when he was the nation's top Division I rebounder with a 12.2 per game average. Over three seasons, he's averaged 9.5 rebounds per game.
"This season, guys like Greg, Charles, Vedad, Flinder and Kiss are the shooters," says McGinnis. For the past three seasons, the go-to guy was Shaun Gee (the Green's fourth all-time scoring leader).
McGinnis knows his role in Dartmouth's scheme: "I set good screens, make good passes and rebound." And, what's every bit as important: "I'm as good a defender as we have."
"Ian always defends the noted inside player," says Faucher. That assignment has included taking on players like North Carolina's Brendan Hayward, Princeton's Chris Young and Virginia's Travis Watson.
"Big games bring out the best in him. He'll make a play and all I can say is, 'Wow, what a job he just did. He elevates the team with his play.'"
While McGinnis, an English major, was sought by other Ivy League colleges as well as colleges in the Big Ten and Big East, coming to Dartmouth from New York City wasn't a difficult decision. His brother, Tom '99, and his father, Mike '60, are Dartmouth graduates. Plus, he knew he'd have an opportunity to play immediately.
Being in the hunt for the Ivy League title until the last weekend of his sophomore season gave McGinnis a taste of his team's potential. He sees that opportunity again this winter.
"There's more parity in the Ivy this season," he says. "If we play hard and smart, with emotion and intelligence, we can compete.
"And, our trip to play in Portugal last September brought us together as a team, both on and off the court."
That 18-day, 10-game trek of basketball, travel and tourism also gave McGinnis a taste, plus exposure, for what may be his near-term future.
He'd like the opportunity to play in Europe next year. While he may eventually become a lawyer or teacher, he's not ready to jump into a life in a suit and a 75-hour week. (Jack DeGange)
Ian McGinnis' recruiting trip to Dartmouth was made possible by the generosity of Robert D. Reinhardt '32 and Richard S. Dunham '53 through the Athletic Sponsor Program.