When a sophomore rises to the occasion in a big setting, you take notice. That’s exactly what 6-foot-2 wiry combination guard Mario McKinney did for St. Louis (Mo.) Vashon at the Holiday Hoopsgiving this past weekend.
In a competitive contest against Marietta (Ga.) Wheeler, who boasts at least eight Division-I recruits, it was McKinney that made his mark and helped his team to a win.
“In practice we do competitive stuff, finishing through contact and I was just taking my time when I got in the paint, hop off two feet and finish above,” McKinney said when asked about his aggressive, but confident play.
McKinney, who played on and off the ball, was aggressive and showed impressive quickness and athleticism. He made play after play in transition and also impacted the game with his defense, which he says is one of his strengths.
“Playing defense, guarding the best person I can guard and just keeping the team on my back,” McKinney said about his strengths.
Heading into the game, McKinney wasn’t necessarily a national name. But that will soon change, as coaches and scouts were raving about his confident and efficient play on such a big stage.