Thanks to class of 2013 power forward Mark Donnal (Michigan) for doing the interview with us. We talked to the 6’8, 225-pound Ohio native about Michigan, the recruiting process, his experience at the NBPA Top 100 High School Camp and more. If you’re a Michigan fan, also check out our interviews with class of 2013 commits point guard Derrick Walton and small forward Zak Irvin. Be sure to join close to 1,000 other people and follow Mark on Twitter.
What was your experience like at the NBA camp?
It was a great experience both on and off the court. You got to play with the best players in the country but you also got to talk to Chris Herren and a bunch of the NBA Players Association speakers and they taught us a lot of off the court lessons as well.
How is the NBA camp different from other camps you’ve attended?
Just the off the court aspect. Usually when you go to camps you’re just strictly playing basketball but we learned a lot of life lessons at this one. We had speakers come in and talk to us about career killers. Chris Herren from the ESPN 30 for 30 series talked to us as well as a few others who shared their personal stories just so that we could learn from their mistakes.
What other events do you have coming up this summer?
This weekend I’m going to the Michigan team camp with my high school team. In July, we’ll be in Indianapolis, Orlando and Vegas I believe. I’m most looking forward to our Orlando tournament because last year we played well in it and this is our last year to play together as a team so I just want to make the most of it with my teammates.
Moving to your commitment, why did you choose Michigan?
First of all, it’s a great education, that definitely played an aspect in it. It’s about an hour from my house so it’s close to home and I just liked the vision that [head] coach [John] Beilein had for me. It was definitely the best choice for me. Coach likes to use his big men’s ability to shoot the ball from the perimeter and also play the post in his offense so I think that my skill set fits into his system.
Why did you commit at the time that you did?
I committed on the first day that they could call me mainly because coach Beilein was the coach that was coming after me the hardest and really wanted me to go to Michigan. The other schools, I wasn’t really that interested in compared to Michigan. They seemed a lot more appealing to me.
What was your favorite part of the recruiting process?
Taking all the visits to all the different schools and getting to check out all the campuses and facilities. It was pretty cool to see all these different places.
What was your least favorite part of the recruiting process?
Having to call coaches every night and having to talk to all of these people. After a while it gets pretty annoying but now that it’s over with. I don’t have to talk to everybody everyday so now it’s not that much.
Yeah, education and I like that it’s close to home so I can come back and visit all of my friends. My brother is at Iowa and that’s about seven hours away so I definitely learned from him [since] he wishes he would have stayed closer to home so that was a big reason for me to pick Michigan.
Do you know any other Michigan commits?
Yeah, I’ve been keeping in contact with [class of 2013 prospects small forward] Austin [Hatch] and [point guard] Derrick [Walton]. Austin has been through a lot and I’m just trying to be there for him and be a good friend to him. On the court, I’ve played against and watched both [class of 2013 small forward] Zak [Irvin] and Derrick and I know that they can really play. Derrick is a great distributor and Zak can really shoot the ball from deep.
What are some of your goals for your time at Michigan?
I’m just trying to put on some weight and get in the weight room. I want to work on my speed and foot work so when I get there I’m ready to play.
What’s your favorite basketball memory?
Probably going to Italy. I went to Italy this past year around Spring Break and last year for about ten days. We got to visit Rome and Venice and play a little basketball so it was a lot of fun. We got to play in the championship of the tournament we were in and we played in one of the pro arenas in Italy.
How do you think Michigan will do in this upcoming season?
I think they’re going to do good. All of the analysts have them ranked pretty high in the Big Ten so we definitely have a good year coming up. They have a great recruiting class coming in next year and with their younger players getting more experience it is going to be fun to see them bond together as a team.
Who do you think will win the NBA Finals?
I’m pulling for the Thunder to win. I’m from Ohio and there aren’t too many LeBron James fans around here [laughing]. I’m pulling for Kevin Durant and the Thunder. A lot of fans of LeBron and the Cavs felt a little disrespected by the way he chose to leave Cleveland. I was a little shocked that it actually happened. When I knew that his contract ran out I thought he would leave but it was just weird to think about him in a different jersey.