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McKie attracting big-time mid-level programs
Every March there are teams that succeed in the NCAA tournament that hail from conferences outside the giant spotlight of major college basketball.
Is it because the elite level schools lose players to the NBA after one or two years? Is it because the programs that are supposed to be the great teams not restocking the locker room with top-flight talent?
Or perhaps we should give a little credit to the mid-level schools for recruiting talented players that know how to win and maintain a consistent level of competitiveness over the course of four years.
When you look closely at the rosters of the mid-level schools that dance in March, the personnel has a common thread. There are players just like Irmo (S.C.) High School guard Justin McKie.
The 6-foot-3 guard finished the summer strong with the talented Upward Stars program, showing off his scoring touch and versatility in the backcourt. That skill set was what attracts so many of the nation’s top mid-level schools to McKie.
“Before this summer, I was an average ball player. I guess I felt that if I wasn’t scoring than I wasn’t doing anything,” McKie said. “But this summer I started showing different parts of my game and I think that attracted more colleges to different parts of my game.”
More colleges are looking. In fact, a lot of them are doing more than looking. A number of them are offering him a free education.
McKie said Murray State, Wichita State, Memphis, Winthrop, High Point, Presbyterian, Samford and Charleston Southern have offered him a scholarship. Wake Forest, South Carolina, Kansas State, Virginia Tech and North Texas are also quite interested, he said.
Going into the school year, McKie said there are two schools that are standing out to him – Wichita State and Murray State.
“I really like the way they are recruiting me. I really like their programs,” McKie said of the two mid-level powers. “They win. They have good coaches. Of course, Murray State went on that run last year and a lot of people think it was just last year but Murray State and Wichita State are schools that are constantly winning. So, I like both of those schools a lot right now.”
McKie said he doesn’t have any visits solidified and he’s working with his father on deciding which schools to visit and when to hit the road.
“My parents have always stressed that academics come first. I want to go somewhere that can fit that. From a basketball perspective, I want to play for a winning school and a winning coach,” McKie said. “I want to be able to go in and contribute as a freshman and give good minutes. That’s what I’m looking for.”
There is a belief that more schools may be jumping into the picture once National Signing Day. What will that do to McKie’s decision?
“I’m not in a rush to sign early, not at all,” McKie said. “If those schools (that haven’t offered) were to offer me, that would be nice. I’d obviously consider them and put them in the mix. But I also don’t want to say I want to sit around and wait for them to offer. Like I said earlier, those schools that have offered me are pretty good schools.”
Pretty good schools, indeed.
After all, McKie is a pretty good player, too. – By Justin Young