When we spoke with Wendell McKines last spring, he expected to commit before his senior season started, so he can "concentrate on school." It seems he was true to his word. On Wednesday, the 6-foot-5, 225-pound wing decided to stay local and signed with University of San Francisco.
The ever polite McKines signed a letter of intent at Richmond (Calif.) High during lunch. It's a good thing, too, since Wednesday was the last day of the early signing period. "I'm relieved right now. It feels like there's a big weight off of my shoulders. It feels good to be staying home," said McKines.
Wendell is excited about hooking up with some other local standouts on USF's roster. "After all of the battles that Dior [Lowhorn of Berkeley High] and I had, it's going to feel good to play with him and learn from him," said McKines. "Maybe some of his work ethic can rub off on me."
McKines had several scholarship opportunities, including offers from Seton Hall, St. Mary's, and Nevada.
A few months ago, Richmond High coach Rob Collins had this to say about his star forward. "He's the most explosive player I've ever seen at the high school level. He attacks the rim more than anyone in Northern California. He wants to dunk everything." In a 105-84 victory over Berkeley last season, the prolific scorer sent home 15 crowd-pleasing dunks, in addition to 45 points, 23 rebounds, and 13 assists.
Since McKines has not yet qualified academically to play at USF, some have speculated prep school might actually be in his immediate future. McKines vehemently denies that. "I will be in a Don's uniform next year," he stated emphatically.
McKines is working hard at becoming academically eligible. In fact, as we talked to him on the phone, he and Richmond High teammate Eli Holman had just finished a class at Contra Costa College. "I am taking all of the classes necessary to become eligible, even taking some night classes at Contra Costa College. I will be taking the SAT again in January. I have no thoughts about prep school. I plan on being at USF next year," explained a confident McKines.