Updated: Jun 11, 2022
In our first Q&A with Mackenzie Mgbako, we went in depth on his background and basketball journey. This time, we spoke with the sharp shooting 2023 forward about his commitment to Duke University. In addition to his sniper-esque range shooting, Mgbako’s has continued to develop as an on-ball creator, two-way option, and a leader. Over time, these traits drew the attention of a number of college programs, including Coach Jon Scheyer and the rest of the staff at Duke.
Mgbako just completed his junior season at Gill St. Bernard’s (NJ) and is poised to compete for Peach Jam with a loaded New Jersey Scholars squad this summer. He’s one of five (!) total Duke players participating at the Nike Hoop Summit, joining Dariq Whitehead, Dereck Lively, and Kyle Filipowski (2022) and Tyrese Proctor (2023). Mgbako has put together a strong week in front of numerous NBA executives and should have an immediate impact upon arrival in Durham.
Pro Insight’s Tyler Glazier spoke with the newest Blue Devil.
Pro Insight: For those who don’t already know, can you talk a bit about your basketball journey — how did you get to where you are today?
Mackenzie Mgbako: I started playing basketball when I was around six or seven years old, I started playing because of my older brother. From there, I started taking it a little more seriously around eighth grade and in high school I went to attend St. Bernard’s and it skyrocketed from there. I went to a few camps, put my name on the map, and it’s been going well.
PI: What are your goals for this summer?
MM: We’ve got Peach Jam coming in the EYBL circuit, so the goal would be to win that as well as adding more to my bag to become a more versatile player.
PI: What have you learned throughout the week here at Hoop Summit?
MM: I’m learning a lot, so far — just how to be better at playing off my strengths, playing with other talented players, because some people don’t really know how to play with other talented players — so just knowing how to do that. Learning how to be professional at all aspects of the game.
PI: Anybody standing out to you so far this week?
MM: Everybody. We’ve been meshing really well and we’ve developed a great bond off the court, as well.
PI: When it came down to it — what were the most important factors in choosing your next step?
MM: It was most definitely the connection I had with the coach, that was one of the bigger ones. The success they’ve had over the years as well as how they would use me on offense and defense. Those things weighed heavily into it.
PI: Who were you leaning on for guidance throughout the process?
MM: Basically my parents — it was their first time really going through something like this, so having a close connection with them at all times, keeping an open door with them to talk about anything was definitely one of the biggest connections I made and strengthened throughout this whole process.
PI: Without further adieu — where will you be attending college?
MM: Duke University.
MM: Thank you!
PI: What was Coach Scheyer’s reaction when you told him the news?
MM: He was elated, he was elated. We called the assistant coaches separately and then we called Coach.
PI: What was Coach Scheyer’s most consistent message to you throughout the process?
MM: Just knowing that he believes in me, that he’s been on me and has a lot of confidence in my skills.
PI: Hoop Summit teammate Tyrese Proctor just committed to Duke this week — how excited are you to be pairing up with him?
MM: I’m beyond excited. We’re building a greater connection here, we’re talking off the court about how we’re going to do things when we get to Durham.
PI: Did you have a relationship prior to this event?
MM: Yeah, we hit each other up on social media and built a little bit of a bond, but it really skyrocketed here at Hoop Summit.
PI: What do you hope to bring to Duke when you get to campus?
MM: Most definitely my personality, my persona [off the court]. On the court, my ability to stretch the floor and push the offense.
PI: Did you get to know any other Duke commits throughout the process?
MM: Yeah, most definitely. Sean Stewart, Jared McCain, Caleb Foster, etc. All of the recruits from the 2023 class, we built a good connection. I took my visit with Caleb, so that was nice, and Sean and I have a good connection, as well.
PI: What are you hoping to work on between now and getting to campus?
MM: Most definitely being able to put the ball on the floor a little bit more to get to my spots quicker as well as improve at drawing fouls.
PI: Lastly, do you have any message for the Blue Devil fans who are thrilled about your commitment?
MM: Let’s get it!