Following is a story on Wendell McKines that will run later this week. McKines will play in the NABC senior All Star game in New Orleans on Friday and in April, he will play in the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament. PIT rosters haven't been announced but here is a website that had him as a projected participant with more background on the event.
I have no idea on McKines' prospects of a NBA career, but he was very honest I thought when I spoke to him. It's not NBA or bust for him. At 6-4 he's well aware of what critics and/or potential scouts have to say. As a fan of basketball however, it seems that every NBA team has a player like McKines, who specializes in rebounding but brings that effort and energy that not all players possess. I wonder how NBA teams measure those things that McKines brings to the table that won't show up in a stat sheet or individual workout.
"I don't get frustrated that I'm not a projected draft pick," McKines said. "It's best for them to see me live right in front of them. There are 30 NBA teams. I feel as though one of them will love me, my passion for the game and my passion for life in general."
LAS CRUCES — Wendell McKines has no regrets as he moves forward as a basketball player.
McKines leaves New Mexico State as one of the most talented and accomplished players to put on an Aggies uniform.
But now the real work begins, starting with the NABC (National Association of Basketball Coaches) College All-Star Game this week and the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament in mid-April.
“My goal since I was a kid was to be a NBA player,” McKines said. “I look at games on TV and know that I can play with them. I’m going into this process expecting to get drafted, but if it doesn’t happen, I still have a college degree in my hands and playing overseas is an option.”
McKines and a handful of other college seniors from Division I programs were invited to play as part of Final Four weekend in New Orleans.
McKines leaves Wednesday and the game takes place Friday at 3:35 p.m., at the New Orleans Superdome, site of this weekend’s Final Four.
“I look at it as an honor,” McKines said. “It just proves that all of my hard work pays off and it’s the icing on the cake.”
While there will certainly be exposure at the biggest weekend in college basketball, McKines is looking forward to the All-Star game as an opportunity to relax before he focuses on becoming a professional.
“All-Star games are supposed to be fun,” he said. “It’s more of a gift.”
McKines will turn up the intensity for the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament April 11-14 in Portsmouth, Va.
Rosters have not been released yet, but McKines said he received his invitation by mail prior to the Aggies’ departure for Portland for their NCAA Tournament second-round game against Indiana.
The top senior NBA Draft prospects are invited for an eight-team, 12-game tournament.
“That’s for a job,” McKines said. “All the NBA teams and teams from overseas are there as well. It’s going to be very intense and I’m looking forward to it.”
McKines said he plans to participate in the graduation ceremony on May 12 with a degree in marketing. Following graduation, he plans to return to the Bay Area and train for potential workouts with NBA teams with the hopes of hearing his name called in the June 28 NBA Draft.
McKines, who has hired BDA Sports Management to represent him, said if he is not drafted, he hopes for an invitation to NBA summer leagues in either Las Vegas or Orlando. If not, he’s open to play overseas.
“I’m playing for a job and to provide for my family,” McKines said. “It’s still basketball but it’s more of a challenge.”
Jason Groves can be reached at (575) 541-5459. Follow him on Twitter @jpgroves.