I AM > I WAS: The Julian McGee Story
By Zach Pressnell
Name: Julian McGee
Birthday: June 14, 2000
Year: Redshirt Junior
Position: Combo Guard
Fun Fact: He loves Superhero movies.
Introducing Julian McGee
The Julian McGee story was never a typical story, even from the very beginning. Julian was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania which he described as “a place that could really reel you into things that you have no business being in.” But with the help of his parents and his love for basketball, he was able to keep himself out of trouble.
“My father always made sure he did the little things like keeping NBA or college [basketball] games on or keeping a mini basketball around at all times. Basketball kept me focused and kept me out of nonsense...” Julian said.
Even with an incredible group of people around him and his head on the right way, adversity follows everybody and Julian wasn’t an exception. His story was just beginning.
Battles with Adversity
The bouts with adversity in Julian’s collegiate career began as soon as his career started. Julian began his college basketball career with Malone University (Division 2) located in Canton, Ohio. This journey quickly became a trial run when he entered the transfer portal after the COVID-19 pandemic began. His first bout with adversity? Finding a new school during a global pandemic.
That’s where Bethany College comes in.
“When I hit the transfer portal, Bethany was one of the first schools to reach out. I appreciated that so much because that was during COVID so college basketball was completely uncertain. So, after talking to a couple players and coaches, I decided that this would be the best fit for me.” Julian said.
It wasn’t a traditional path to Bethany, West Virginia, but it was one that would give the Bison 4 years of a high-quality player and person, so nobody in Bethany minded that Julian didn’t have a traditional path here. They were just glad he was here.
But that wasn’t the end of his battles with adversity. He battled numerous injuries for the majority of the 2021-2022 season, which took a toll on his mental health.
“That [injury troubles] weighed a huge toll on my mental[health] to the point where I thought I was ready to be done with basketball as a whole. This put me into a depression,” Julian said in a recent interview.
A Year of Growth
Julian spent the entire summer treating his body better than ever and giving himself time to heal and recover. He noted that he had to “show myself that I could play my full game without the fear of getting injured.”
And that leads us to this season. The 2022-2023 season. A season where Julian is going to step into more of a leadership role. He intends to “make sure the older guys stay on the same page and the freshman are up to code so they’ll be ready when the time comes.”
Julian, along with many of his teammates, have their eyes set on some big, yet achievable goals this year.
When asked about what kind of goals he has set, Julian noted, “More than anything else, I want to win. These past couple years have been stressful because we always have good pieces but we could never really bring it all together. Another goal of mine is leading this team in the right direction. Taking it day by day and building a winning culture. Hopefully, that takes us to a PAC championship and to the NCAA tournament. Personally, I just want to be a great leader.”
There aren’t many words that are more accurate when describing Julian than the word “selfless”. Throughout the entire recent interview, he never mentioned himself or any personal accolades. Everything was about the team. Everything was about his brothers and his coaches and his school. Julian McGee is the definition of a role model and he is the definition of perseverance. Don’t forget the name. It’ll become quite familiar when the Bison tip-off their season in November.