WOODLAWN (WSIL) -- Woodlawn's Blake McKay scored over two-thousand points during his high school career. He reopened his recruiting process and for several months we've to see which school he choses. Make recently signed with Lincoln Trail College.
"I can now just focus on basketball," Woodlawn's Blake McKay said. "A lot of other distractions, but that's part of the process, there's a lot of other things on my mind, but am ready to go, all that's left for me to do is get better and produce."
Blake McKay was committed to play basketball at McKendree University, a division two program but the Woodlawn product has division one aspirations, so he opened up the recruiting process. It had its share of challenges during the pandemic.
"It was definitely more difficult than usual and I had a taste of it before the pandemic hit, my junior year going into my senior year but since I got out of McKendree my recruitment was a lot more active than it was before but really I'm used to this version of it. It really eliminates the personal relationship with the coaches and the authenticity of the people and you base it on the people, and the reputation and stuff like that because you can't base on what you see."
And after thinking it over, McKay decided Lincoln Trail provided the best opportunity.
"They kind of got late in my recruiting than some of the other schools and after I got off the phone with Coach Stuckey I felt a sense of excitement. I had that with some schools but not as much with Lincoln Trail. Probably the most with them. I felt excited with them and the basketball situation fit perfectly for me, it's about two hours from my house and I'll get the college experience but still be near home. Perfect basketball fit for me the way they run things, I'll be around really good players that will elevate me in practice and obviously it's in the GRAC, a really good conference, one of the best JUCO conferences, yeah just a perfect fit for me."
Blake is ready to get to work.
"One thing I respect is they don't promise any minutes at all. Coach Stuckey is very upfront and like I said, authentic, that's one thing I was looking for but given I work hard and I earn everything, hopefully my role will be somebody that will get them a bucket, somebody that can score and play-make similar to what I did in high school and just combo guard, that's what I'm going to be doing. I can play the one or the two, point guard or shooting guard, and I'll be facilitating but my role will scoring as well."
McKay had to make a tough decision regarding his basketball career but he followed his heart.
"It was really hard because the people at McKendree are really great people. It was a really great situation for me there but I kinda wanted to go as far as I can and I didn't want to go to McKendree and then regret it for not going for hopefully division one like four years down the road and McKendree is such a good school in basketball. Coach Foster has them moving in the right direction so that's a great fit for anyone but my personal situation with it, I wanted to go for it, bet on myself."
And McKay believes Coach Stuckey elevate his game to the next level.
"He's got evidence of what he's been able to do and guys from previous years. A guy I talked to, Eric Moenkhaus was playing for him last year and he was kind of similar to what I am and he just committed to Denver University. He's going to play division one basketball so it's proof that if you can do that for him given that I work hard, there's a possibility that I can get the same results so that's the goal."
There were some people surprised he didn't follow Coach Gamber to Rend Lake.
"That was one of my top choices the whole time and what fit my liking and my scenario the best and ultimately I thought Lincoln Trail was but I have a great relationship with Coach Gamber at Rend Lake and I wish them all the best for sure."