Trey McKenney has traveled the country for basketball since his college days.
Playing for the Chicago-based Nike Meanstreets U-15 team, he will travel to Kansas City next week when the summer tour begins.
Soon he will be at his favorite event of the summer, the Nike EYBL Peach Jam July 18-24 in South Carolina.
But whether it’s a trip across the country or trying to get the sophomore to meet and discuss his basketball future at his high school, his availability doesn’t turn. only around his schedule – he needs a helping hand from mom or dad.
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McKenney, the 15-year-old guard from Orchard Lake St. Mary’s could be Michigan State’s next high school hoop star.
A 6-foot-4, 200-pound Flint, McKenney comes in at No. 19 in the nation in the ESPN rankings for the Class of 2025. That would be exciting for most teenagers.
For McKenney, it’s motivation.
“It’s like, it’s cool, but I feel like I should be higher,” he said. “So I still have work to do.”
He had 16.9 points and 6.3 rebounds per game in his freshman season, being named to the 2022 All-State Second Team and MaxPreps Freshman All-America Second Team.
He helped the Aiglons win a Catholic League title, a district title and a regional title last season. For the most part, that’s a solid resume. Again, not McKenney.
“I expected us to win a ring last year,” he said. “I mean, I feel like we still had a pretty good season… but I feel like we can have one this year.
“We should be special this year.”
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His trainer, Todd Covert, already sees something special in McKenney. Covert, who coached basketball and was involved in the OLSM program for 25 years, said McKenney is different from anyone who came before him.
This includes the former state of Michigan basketball Kalin Lucas, as well as current football coach and sporting director Jermaine Gonzales.
“I’ve never seen anyone like that,” Covert said. “I mean, he’s a bit of an artist. We’ve had fast kids and we’ve had shooters, but he’s got a unique artistry.”
College coaches are already noticing this. McKenney already holds 13 Division I scholarship offers, including two this week from MSU and Kansas State. It was previously offered by Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio State, Texas, Alabama, and Arizona State.
“He really has the ability to score the ball, from so many different angles, with so many different movements,” Covert said. “I was thinking about it the other day, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen him get his shot blocked.
“I told (Tom) Izzo the other day that he’s out of control when he throws. When he shoots, he has this ability to create space. Really, really special.”
McKenney is a three-tiered scorer, with the size and control to finish around the edge. His biggest strength might be his mid-range game and he said this summer he was focused on expanding his lineup.
He also said he’s well aware of the long-running pipeline between Flint and MSU, because it’s “important” to know that story.
He’s learned lessons from different generations of “Flintstones,” like Mateen Cleaves and Miles Bridges — whom he worked with last month — about being a highly touted prospect in high school.
“Really, just say, don’t look at the leaderboards and just make sure you’re still working,” he said of their top tips. “Like, we’ll talk and they’ll show me the people who were ranked ahead of them and how their careers went, then where they were and where they are now.”
McKenney said he was still a long way from thinking about making a decision in college. He will be patient and use the next few years to continue building relationships. He has made unofficial visits to UM, MSU and Kansas and plans to visit Ohio State and Indiana this fall.
More than just a star on the court, Covert called McKenney a teammate and an incredible person. McKenney works in the Flint community and is the class president at OLSM. He comes from a family that “does things right”. A grandfather, was a longtime pastor. Another, a former mayor of Flint.
“I mean, he’s such a good boy that you can tell his humility as soon as you meet him and it’s refreshing these days,” Covert said. “Everything comes from home. His mom and dad, great parents.”
If he’s not in the field, you can catch him wobbling in the bass. But for other sports? Not really. It’s always been basketball for McKenney. And that’s how it’s gonna be.
“Basketball, training, lifting every day,” he said. “That’s what I like.”
Contact Tony Garcia at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @realtonygarcia.