Sophomore Spotlight: Travis McKie

HAMPTON, Va. --- Travis McKie is playing out of position this weekend at the Boo Williams Invitational, but that hasn't stopped the elite sophomore from putting up big numbers.

McKie surpassed the 30-point mark in his first two games with the BWSL 16U squad, and was on pace to do the same again Saturday afternoon until a minor knee injury limited his minutes and he ended up with 19 points.

At 6-6, the Richmond (Va.) John Marshall star is in the midst of transitioning his game from power forward to small forward.

"It's a new thing," he said of the new position. "Usually I'd be limited to the inside, but now coaches notice that I can shoot so they're letting me step outside."

And with that newfound freedom, he's done some damage, as his points this weekend have come from all over the court.

"Inside, outside, free throw line, three point line," McKie said, with regards to where he's scoring from.

But after playing on the wing during the high school season, he won't be able to fully embrace the small forward role this AAU season because his BWSL 16U team needs him to spend most of his time on the interior.

"This year I started playing the three and I did pretty well," McKie said. "But [with this team], because we're so small, I have to play the '4' and the '5.'"

McKie has had the opportunity to take -- and make -- some outside shots, and he's run the floor to finish on the break, but in playing in the middle he's done his duty, utilizing his quickness of the floor to collect rebounds, block shots and score around the rim.

That's fine for now, but he knows his future will be at small forward. And to become a true wing, he's going to have to improve his perimeter skills.

"I'm just starting to feel comfortable on the wing, shooting the ball well," he said. "I'll have to work on my strength and my dribbling to become a premier wing."

Colleges have already recognized his skills and potential. He said he's heard consistently from Georgetown, Maryland, VCU, Virginia, Virginia Tech, North Carolina, Boston College and Georgia Tech.

"They just call my high school coach to check in on me and send letters," he said of the interested programs.

As for the college that was a favorite growing up?

"North Carolina," he replied. "Most of my family likes North Carolina so I grew up with them."

The only campus visits McKie has made thus far are to Virginia and North Carolina. In Charlottesville, he attended a football game. But he made two trips to Chapel Hill last season - one for a basketball game and one for a practice.

"I went to the UNC game when they played Virginia Tech and blew them out, and there was one practice I went to in November," McKie said.

"They invited me down - they called my coach. They told me they're looking at me to see if I can become an ACC player."

This early in the process, McKie isn't about to name clear-cut favorites, but it's clear the Tar Heels are going to be a major player in his recruitment if they step up interest in the coming months.

"I'm not going to say I'm definitely going to go to North Carolina," McKie said. "I like a lot of other schools, too. It's a long process."

"I like North Carolina - I'm not going to hold my breath for them, but I'd like to go there."

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