McQuaid is a 6’5″ guard out of Texas whom MSU sort of rolled in on a bit late and then showed some impressive flex in getting him after not having major early involvement. McQuaid (and presumably his parents) showed tremendous instincts right out of the chute by opting to decommit from Larry Brown’s SMU program, well before the NCAA trouble surfaced, and by all accounts his familial roots in Michigan helped the Spartans secure a commitment when they opted to get involved at that point.
There weren’t ever any questions about McQuaid’s strengths as a player, most of all his shooting. He’s been regarded as one of the best shooters in his HS class for awhile now and there haven’t been any signs to the contrary since he’s been in East Lansing. He also had a rep as a guy who could get to the rim (so the cliche “not just a shooter” applies) and as a player with enough attitude and want-to where he’d likely become a good defender in time. All of that has been borne out in what I saw from Italy and what I’ve been told by people who have seen and even “coached” (and I use that word very, very loosely) him in Moneyball…McQuaid definitely plays with attitude.
The biggest issue for him when he committed was physical strength. He’s made definite strides, listing now at a solid 190lbs. He could still use another 10-20lbs of good weight to max out but progress has definitely been made and based on what I saw from Italy, I think he’s already made enough to where he can hang in the Big Ten. Due to that and what he’s shown in terms of mindset and skills, I don’t think there’s much question about his being in the rotation…he’s going to play. The only questions are how much and at what positions.
In Italy, MSU used Matt at the point and he looked relatively comfortable. I didn’t see Zel-esque vision but his handle is plenty good enough and he has an attacking mindset which will allow him to get into the lane and create opportunities for himself and for others. It appears for the moment that he and Zel are the likely candidates to play that position when Tum needs a blow. Based on what I saw from Matt playing against pros in Italy, I think he’s up to the challenge. I would expect he’ll also see time on the wing as well. The added weight should help him compete defensively right away, and I think in time his length and athleticism could make him a plus defender.
I have a hunch that he’s going to become a guy opposing fanbases don’t like very much, because he’s skilled and he’s borderline cocky. He’s also one other thing which often combines with the first two to make players targets for fans but in the interest of keeping things light, I’ll let that slide. Suffice it to say that I think he’s a kid Spartans are going to enjoy having on our side, as he’s got multi dimensional skills and as he gets stronger, he’ll only continue to improve.