Islander rising senior Wayne McKinney has committed to play for the USD Toreros, he announced last week. An All-CIF First Team selection last season for Coronado, McKinney averaged 28.4 points per game and led his team to the CIF Division III Finals where the Islanders lost to San Ysidro 71-59, although the game was closer than the final score reflects.
“USD was the best academic school that offered me,” McKinney said by phone last week. “It’s the place my family and I decided on because it’s close to home. I’ve been in communication with the USD staff for about a year now. I’ve been pretty comfortable with them and I went to watch the team play. Their guards are aggressive and the coaches let them play. The guards really run the show. I’m looking forward to meeting the team after COVID and their gym is open. The USD campus is beautiful and the gym is awesome. All of that was an add-on for me.”
McKinney reflected on the Islanders title pursuit last season. “It went extremely well, especially since that was my first year in Coronado. I got along with the team pretty fast, we found our groove in mid-season, and made a run. We played really well last year.”
In addition to being the team’s leading scorer, McKinney also averaged 7.7 rebounds per game and 3.6 assists per game. He discussed the part of his game that makes the team as a whole better. “Definitely facilitating. When I get to the rim in the game, if I see guys are open on three-point line, I’ll get them the ball. I know our guys could shoot the rock really well. If they miss, I give it to them again and I know they’ll hit the shot. I trust our guys because that’s something we work on in practice every day.”
If you’ve seen McKinney play in person, it should come as no surprise that his favorite NBA player is Russell Westbrook of the Houston Rockets. McKinney is six feet tall and can dunk easily. Most of his drives to the basket are finished at the rim.
I saw the Islanders play eight times in person last year and each of those opponents devised a different defense to stop McKinney. Sometimes the defense was punctuated with excessively physical play, but McKinney never retaliated. As you can tell from this stats, very few teams could stop him. McKinney explained, “Probably the toughest defensive challenge last year came from Orange Glen. They double teamed me and they had an extra defender behind the double team. My AAU coach was on that team and he had a defense lined up just for me. That defense was something else and I had to trust my teammates that game.”
McKinney has two challenges he is facing this summer. The first is trying to find a gym to get into so he can work out. The second is taking math in summer school. “I’m doing it now because I don’t want to take math my senior year.”
McKinney was recruited by a number of schools and said as we concluded, “I want to thank my family, all of the coaches who recruited me, everybody who looked out for me, scouted me and talked to me about my future. I appreciate all of them.”