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Athlete of the week: Riverside's McKinney a versatile threat

POSTED: December 2, 2008 5:00 a.m.

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It’s been a busy couple of weeks for Riverside Military’s Brandon McKinney.

After finishing football two weeks ago, he had to take off his pads and put on his shoes on for basketball season quickly enough to be ready for the first game.

The rush, however, didn’t throw him off.

After only three practices and one game with the Eagles, McKinney scored 21 points and had 10 rebounds in Riverside’s second game, a 71-65 win against Lakeview Academy last Thursday.

But the position he played made the game even more difficult, especially for a player who just joined the team.

With three guards fouled out, McKinney’s position went from forward to everywhere.

“He was surprised. All of our guards fouled out and he was the only person we had left to play point guard,” Riverside coach Matt Bohon said. “He had never practiced it (the position) but he did a good job doing it.”

According to Bohon, McKinney never objected to playing all over the court. In fact, he never said anything at all, taking the challenge in stride.

“He’s had a great attitude so far,” Bohon said. “When I said to him, ‘You’re the point guard,’ he just went about his business.”

That business involved keeping his team in a game that was almost lost.

Riverside (1-1) held off a Lakeview rally attempt in the fourth quarter before putting the Lions away for good late in the game.

Quite the heroics for a player in only his second game ever with the Eagles. The 6-foot-5 junior transferred to Riverside this year from Brookwood High School, and made his Eagles debut in a football uniform.

Earning the starting tight end spot, McKinney finished the season as one of Riverside’s top receivers with 376 yards and six touchdowns on 30 receptions.

It was during football season that Bohon saw McKinney for the first time playing pick-up games with fellow cadets in the gym. From that day forward, he knew he had a good player joining his team.

“I had seen him in gym a little bit over the summer and on the weekend when football wasn’t going on,” Bohon said. “So it wasn’t a total surprise. We knew, and the kids knew, that he could play.”

According to Bohon, McKinney’s best attributes are his knowledge of the game and his versatility, as he showed against Lakeview.

It also helps to be 6-foot-5, which allows him to pull down rebounds easily against smaller opponents.

“From what I’ve seen in two games and three practices, he has good basketball sense,” Bohon said.

That basketball sense will be needed, as Riverside is in its first season back in the GHSA since 2001, where it will face some of the toughest teams it has seen in years.

“I don’t expect anyone to average 20 points a game, if he does that would be awesome,” Bohon said. “But after a couple of games he’s shown that he can."



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