Above the rim
Guard sets high standards on and off the court
Research projects, mid-terms and labs top the list of what students expect from their college experience. But there's more. For Trey McKinney-Jones, it's also about relationships, athletics and community service. He selected UMKC for these reasons and more.
An extended family
A native of Milwaukee, Wis., McKinney-Jones turned down track scholarship offers to Marquette University and the University of Minnesota to attend UMKC on a basketball scholarship. After meeting with the team and the coaches, McKinney-Jones felt right at home.
"The basketball team and the coaches provide a lot of support," said McKinney-Jones. "It's like a family, and the coaches are part of the same family."
According to Matt Brown, head men's basketball coach, the student athletes are housed on campus to increase the coaches/player involvement and to allow students to gain a "real" college experience.
The 6'4" sophomore guard is a resident of Oak Place Apartments.
"I enjoy living in the apartments where I have my own room," said McKinney-Jones. "It allows me to interact with students better and gives me easy access to the library. It doesn't get much better than that."
Encouragement of ethics and the game began at home
McKinney-Jones is majoring in business administration although he is still undecided about the direction he will go upon graduation. He understands the value in maintaining a good grade point average, and his parents continue to insist that grades come first.
"Trey is a terrific student, and he chose UMKC because of its academic excellence," said Brown. "Overall, our team GPA is very competitive as we rank in the upper third of The Summit League."
McKinney-Jones is carrying a 3.38 GPA, with a cumulative team GPA of approximately 3.0. And, along with the academic focus, McKinney-Jones credits his Dad and uncle as the two people who were most influential in encouraging his basketball game.
"I must say that my father and uncle are my number one and two influencers," said McKinney-Jones. "My father, Dwight, coaches me and makes sure I'm on track whenever I'm home. Mark, my uncle, who played with the Orlando Magic and overseas - including in Turkey and France - makes sure I do what I need to do. They have molded my game into what it is now."
McKinney-Jones said he has always spent lots of time on the court, and that is still the same at UMKC.
"My morning starts at 6:15 when I get out of the bed - if we have to lift weights," said McKinney-Jones. "I have to arrive at the gym around 7 a.m. and practice, then head to class. Back to the gym at 2:40 p.m., we practice for two hours, and I leave to go take a nap. I take as many (naps) as I can."
McKinney-Jones returns to his room at Oak Place Apartments, where he spends his evenings with his books, preparing for class. He is currently taking 12 credit hours.
A commitment to community
Of course, the success of an athlete does not stop with academics.
As part of the mark of an outstanding student experience, many athletes engage in community service. McKinney-Jones is no different.
"Members of our basketball team go to elementary schools to read to students - fourth and fifth graders," said McKinney-Jones. "We have greater involvement in the first semester - unfortunately, we are busy with basketball practice and games during the second semester to go very often. However, we do reach out to the community as much as we can to try to help the kids."
For McKinney-Jones, college is about academics, relationships, basketball and community service. He feels like he is succeeding and helping the team succeed in the process.
Posted: February 4, 2010