Versatile Veteran McKie Offers Experience To Young Team
Oct. 30, 2013
By Emma Lingan, WakeForestSports.com
Two-time All-ACC honoree Travis McKie is back for his fourth and final season as a Demon Deacon and hopes to make it his best season yet. McKie has started every game for Wake Forest over the past three seasons and leads the ACC with 94 career starts.
He is already one of the ACC's most versatile forwards, but McKie guarantees that he will add even more new facets to his game this season.
"I'm not going to be just catch-and-shoot or in the post," McKie said. "I'm going to be doing a lot more with the ball. I'm going to be more involved with the offensive movements. I'm going to do whatever I need to do to help the team win. I think I'll be better mentally. I've learned a lot about the game since last year."
McKie, who enters the 2013-14 season as the ACC's leading returning career scorer and rebounder, has spent the offseason working to improve in several areas, particularly expanding his game from under the basket.
"There's no substitute for hard work." McKie said. "I've been here since June, working out every day with Coach Randolph (Childress). We've been in the gym, just getting better. I've done ball-handling drills, coming off the pick and roll, understanding how to think like a guard. Ball management is the biggest thing. I think once you put more focus on it, it becomes second nature."
Head coach Jeff Bzdelik has already begun to see the positive results of McKie's efforts in practice and plans to make the most of his versatility this season by giving him ample playing time at both forward positions.
"Travis is just a really good basketball player," Bzdelik said. "I think sometimes we just get hung up so much on whether he is a 3 or a 4...You just look to put your five best players out on the court."
McKie, for his part, is eager to contribute to the success of the team in as many ways as possible.
"Whatever they need me to do, I can do," McKie said. "I just try to do whatever I can to put points on the board and help my team."
For McKie, however, helping the team is a responsibility both on and off the court. As the team's sole senior, he takes his leadership role seriously and has adopted a leadership style best fit to suit his teammates' needs.
"I think in years past, I've been a little too hard on them," McKie said. "I had to learn how to be a better leader by going through it, so I think I'm more supportive of the guys now."
McKie's teammates often sing his praises and value his veteran presence on the team. For the younger players, McKie is not only a wealth of experience, but also a model team player.
"He's helped the team a lot," said sophomore guard Codi Miller-McIntyre. "Not just on the court, because he's a great player as many can see, but him being there if we need anything to talk about on the court and off the court. He has so much more experience than us and knows more than us, and he provides us with a sense of relief."
As the start of his final season with the Demon Deacons approaches, McKie looks forward most of all to sharing it with his teammates and helping them become the best players they can be.
"All of them have that awareness now," McKie said. "Experience is the best teacher."
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