Junior Wayne McKinney is a transfer from Lake Oswego High School in the Portland area, a high school program whose alumni include NBA player Kevin Love. If this part of the story sounds similar to the opening to the Girls Basketball Section above, there’s a reason for that as Islander Boys Basketball Head Coach JD Laaperi explains. “Wayne and Janie Ruttert played on the same club basketball team as eighth graders. Her family got to know Wayne and he started living with them. The family just became his legal guardian and they moved to Coronado this summer.”
As for McKinney’s playing ability, Laaperi said, “He’s the real deal. Wayne is the best athlete I’ve ever coached and he’s not just an athlete, he can play basketball. His ability to be faster than anyone on the court, leap and finish at the basket is on the Division I level. He has five Division I scholarship offers for college. He, like Janie, makes people around him better with his ability and selflessness. He wants to give the ball to his teammates and open things up. And defensively when he is on the floor, it’s like we have six players to the opposition’s five. Officially Wayne is 6-0 and he definitely plays bigger than that. He went off of two feet and threw down a left-handed (his off hand) windmill dunk recently. He’ll be a team captain for us along with Jake Hacker and Mike Cunningham.”
And the incoming talent doesn’t stop there. Dane Hansen is a 6-9 transfer from Mission Vista High School, who according to Laaperi will be the team’s starting big man. “He’s a load inside,” Laaperi said of Hansen. “He’s another guy who can play above the rim. We’re seeing a lot of alley oop passes and dunks in practice.” Another transfer is 6-5 forward Kieran Ashley, who is originally from Kenya and is transferring from Francis Parker High School. Laaperi said, “Kieran is suited to the three (small forward), he drives a little bit, rebounds well and can bang with the bigger guys. He needs a little experience and he is a guy that as the season progresses, his minutes will go up. He’s getting better and better.”
Two other players new to the program are freshmen William Haley and Nolan Reuter. Laaperi said, “Haley was pegged to go to Westview, and he moved onto the Island. He is a 6-4 freshman who can really shoot. Reuter is a transplant from Kansas. He is really good and the only knock on him is he isn’t very big yet.”
Returning players include Cunningham, who will now move to the shooting guard position with McKinney playing the point. The senior class includes Hacker, David Roberts, Donovan Campbell, and Jack Westphal. Players coming up from the JV include Henry Spoor and Ryan Hoyt. Laaperi said of his team, “We have some pieces.”
This year Coronado will play in the City League along with Patrick Henry, Mira Mesa, Hoover and University City. The Islanders will keep their rivalry going with Point Loma, although the teams are in different conferences this year. Coronado will play at Point Loma in late January. The Islander Boys Team was also was elevated to Division III, where San Ysidro and a talented freshman center are the early favorites to win the division. But it won’t be without a fight from the Islanders.
The first few games of the regular season include Nov. 25 at Poway at 5 p.m.; Nov. 27 at Mt. Carmel at 6 p.m.; Dec. 2 at home vs. Orange Glen at 7 p.m.; Dec. 4 at home vs. Serra at 7 p.m.; and Dec. 6 at home vs. Mar Vista at 6:30 p.m.