St. Mary’s Trey McKenney, No. 1 player in the state, ‘wants to be great’

St. Mary’s junior Trey McKenney, projected to repeat as the No. 1 player in the state, takes a break during the Eaglets' 67-25 trouncing of Carmen Ainsworth. He told a reporter two years ago as a freshman, “I'm going to maximize my potential by being great. I feel like that’s where I'm supposed to be. I want to be great.” (Photo by Don Horkey | Special to Detroit Catholic)

ORCHARD LAKE — Google Trey McKenney and you’ll find more than 200 entries describing achievements and accolades about this supremely talented basketball player wearing the red and white colors of St. Mary’s Prep.

Check out a recent copy of The Detroit News for writer Dave Goricki’s projection of McKenney, the No. 1 player in the state as a sophomore a year ago, to repeat No. 1 as a junior.

This writer had all of four minutes with McKenney last Saturday evening after the Eaglets opened the season by trouncing Flint Carmen Ainsworth, 67-25, led by McKenney’s 15 points and six rebounds.

The question was how he handles being a celebrity, the center of attention and speculation bordering on adoration.

“It doesn’t bother me,” he said in a soft, measured voice that belies his 6-foot-4, 205-pound explosiveness on the basketball court. “I really feed off it as motivation to give my energy every single game to help my teammates get better. It doesn’t really affect me.”

Statistics tell the tale. He averaged 16.9 points and six rebounds as a freshman followed by 25.4 points and 11.1 rebounds for his sophomore season that ended with consecutive state playoff game performances of 26, 30, 28, 28 and 20 points, carrying the Eaglets to the semifinal.

His notoriety has prompted 35 colleges from across the country to offer scholarships.

In a recent interview, McKenney revealed three factors he’s considering for the choice he’ll make: “Who can get me to the next level after college? How does it feel family-wise? How are the academics?”

He said, “I feel like I could play in any system. My game doesn’t require any type of system. I can adjust.”

McKenney said he won’t reveal his college decision until his senior year.

This summer, he played for MeanStreets/Nike Elite Youth Basketball League in Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles and Kansas City. He was among 84 prep stars who participated in the USA Basketball Junior National Team minicamp Oct. 6-8 at the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.

“For the most part,” he said, “I was learning about intensity on the other side of the ball and how you can affect a game without scoring.”

Todd Covert, in his seventh season coaching St. Mary’s, said, “I think his defensive intensity has picked up, pressure on the ball, and his passing has become really, really good. He’s seeing people when they are doubling him a lot quicker.”

About this year’s Eaglets, he said, “I really like the chemistry. Everybody just loves each other. We come together. We’ve never really had a group like this, especially the cohesiveness, everybody just knowing where everybody is on the floor, everybody just locked in paying attention to what the coach is saying.”

The Detroit News also picked St. Mary’s as its pre-season No. 1 squad, which has virtually the same roster as a year ago but with the addition of two players who didn’t play while their transfer eligibility was being decided in court — juniors Isaiah Hines and 6-foot-6, 210-pound Jayden Savoury.

Against Carmen Ainsworth, Hines scored six points and displayed his value coupled with junior guard Sharod Barnes (10) in getting the ball over the center line quickly to get the offense in motion.

Savoury controlled the boards with eight rebounds and added nine points.

Senior Daniel Smythe (11 points, three 3s) is the Eaglets long distance threat. Six-foot-6 senior center Mason Wisniewski contributed five points and four rebounds.

Two years ago, when ninth-grader McKenney scored 25 points against Grand Blanc, he told a television reporter after the game, “I'm going to maximize my potential by being great. I feel like that’s where I'm supposed to be. I want to be great.”

Now, at the start of his third year on the varsity, “My biggest goal is getting back to (Michigan State’s) Breslin Center and winning a state championship,” McKenney said. “I feel like playing there (for the state semifinals) just makes us more hungry to get back there, makes us train harder to get back.”

It appears that both he and the team are headed in the right direction.

Contact Don Horkey at [email protected].


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