Published in The DePaulia: Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Standing at 6 feet, 3 inches, 19-year-old Charles McKinney is not just a fan of concerts and movies-he’s also a freshman basketball player at DePaul who is already getting a lot of attention.
DePaul’s game against Lewis at McGrath Phillips Arena on Saturday, Nov. 5 was one to remember. The 70-63 exhibition game victory was memorialized by McKinney’s first time on the court that produced a dunk that made ESPN’s “Top 10 Plays of the Week.”
The ball goes up in the air, bounces off the rim and as DePaul and Lewis players look up in anticipation McKinney leaps over them in a single-bound making the crowd go crazy. DePaul has its very own “Superman” on the court.
Tony Wood, a sophomore studying PR, was able to catch the footage on ESPN and said that he was immediately at a standstill. “That kid is [freaking] awesome. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing so I ended up showing it to all my friends,” Wood said.
“It felt good,” McKinney said. “I’m just trying to make a name for myself, and it helped put our team on the map by getting more exposure.”
From FlipCam to YouTube to Twitter to SportsCenter. One of the people taping caught the dunk on camera and at halftime the video was uploaded to YouTube. One tweet to @SportsCenter and McKinney made the top ten plays of the day.
With a wingspan of 82.5 inches, McKinney is also ranked No. 52 among shooting guards on ESPN. These are accomplishments that a freshman rarely gets to experience, but all this attention is only pushing McKinney to work harder.
“I didn’t even know about ESPN at first,” McKinney said. “I was at Buffalo Wild Wings when it came on and everybody gave me a round of applause. I’m guessing they all liked it.”
Playing basketball is second-nature for McKinney. Coming from North Carolina’s Quality Education Academy he has always been a fan and a player, but his first time playing with DePaul was one he’ll never forget.
“I was a little nervous before going on the court because you never know what you’re going to get, but once I was in the game it all went away,” McKinney said. “I think I’m gaining a lot of respect from the upper-classmen just by continuing to play my hardest.”