Roger Bacon basketball standout Craig McGee is on a mission to help Spartans win state

Posted at 8:20 AM, Mar 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-24 06:42:20-04

ST. BERNARD, Ohio -- The conversation around the McGee family dinner table doesn’t generally focus on basketball.

What Craig McGee Sr. likes to emphasize to his namesake and Roger Bacon senior basketball standout is the ability to complete a task -- whether that’s in athletics, academics or in life.

Craig McGee Jr. has a 4.0 grade-point average and is an Assisi Scholar, part of the school’s highest honors program. He’s also a student senator as one of the leaders in school.

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This weekend, Craig McGee Jr. wants to complete the ultimate mission for his high school basketball career: Winning a Division III state title at the Schottenstein Center Saturday night.

“It’s not just about getting up to Columbus,” McGee Jr. said. “It’s about getting up to Columbus, winning two games and getting a state championship here.”

Roger Bacon (24-4) plays Archbold (22-5) in a Division III state semifinal at 2 p.m. Friday. The winner plays in the state final at 5:15 p.m. Saturday.

This weekend is the Spartans’ third trip to the state Final Four in the past four years. It’s also the third trip for McGee.

“We don’t have any records on that exactly but I am sure no one else has done that in Roger Bacon history,” Assistant Athletic Director Brandon Spaeth said.

McGee, who lives in Milford, has been waiting for his last opportunity at state title for almost a year. He strained a lateral collateral ligament in the 2016 regional final and played limited minutes in the state semifinal loss to Lima Central Catholic.

“I think Craig has showed a lot of heart and a lot of toughness this year,” McGee Sr. said.

Junior averages 13.2 points and is the school’s leader in career assists. But it’s his leadership that sets him apart, according to Roger Bacon coach Brian Neal.

“It’s off the charts,” Neal said. “It’s been hard for him because as a peer leader sometimes you can’t do the easy thing and you can’t do the thing that will make your teammates happy. You will make them mad at you sometimes. He’s done it with a good balance. It certainly helps that our point guard has been with this team for four years and has been through the battles. He knows what we want and that’s a comfortable feeling.”

On Monday night, McGee had to present his capstone project to a select panel of teacher and administration about how high school sports/athletics helps to build leaders and leadership skills.

"When I told him how awesome of an idea that was his reply was, ‘I live it every day of my life,’” Spaeth said.

So true. 

Roger Bacon Athletic Director Steve Rossi said McGee offers a peace of mind to his teammates and coaches as well as the school staff and students about his ability to lead.

“Craig is the best example of being a student-athlete because of his high academic standing and he's had a basketball career at Roger Bacon that only a few others have had,” Rossi said.

Even with the attention of winning the regional title against previously undefeated Summit Country Day last weekend, McGee has learned to take everything in stride. He scored a career-high 28 points and heard the acclaim in school Monday.

But McGee isn’t one to dwell on personal accomplishments. He wants to the team to get that state title. He urges his teammates to be the same way.

“It’s about family,” said McGee, who has interest in studying engineering while playing basketball in college. “Every last one of these guys is a brother to me. We might bicker and holler and get in fights or whatever. But it comes down to we have to come together as a team and perform on the court.”