There’s no question Jameel McKay and Trinson White have looked good together in Warrior maroon and gold over the past two seasons.
Both are hopeful they’ll continue to look good in front of their hometown fans in Milwaukee next season.
But after this season ends, the next time White and McKay see each other on the hardwood will be in opposing jerseys.
For McKay, it will be the gold and blue of Marquette. White, meanwhile, will be in the UW-Milwaukee’s black and gold colors.
“To see (Jameel) on another side of the court next year is going to be interesting, but it’s also going to be fun,” White said. “We’ve been playing together for awhile now. It’s going to bring out the competitive side in both of us next season.”
“Playing with this team has really prepared me for the next level,” McKay added. “Playing with these all of these guys makes you feel like you don’t have to do too much.”
One hometown, two schools and two very talented players will return home looking to take their respective squads on similar paths to success. McKay will be one of the latest JUCO stars to join Buzz Williams with traditional Big East-contending Golden Eagles while White and the Panthers will look to become something of a “bracket-buster” playing in a Horizon League that has recently produced two-time NCAA finalist Butler.
The two IHCC teammates are hopeful each can find that equal level of success, separately, next year.
“It kind of reminds me of when we both went to prep school a couple years back,” White said. “We both decided it wasn’t a great fit for us, so we decided to go back home. It’s just a good feeling to know we’re going back to play in front of our family and our city.
“People are going to be wondering how good we’ve gotten over the past two years. It’ll be a great experience to get back home show everyone something back there.”
McKay is one of three Warriors that has already signed with one of college basketball’s “power six” schools along with Dustin Hogue and Richard Amardi — both of whom will play at Iowa State next year. Choosing to join Marquette, which has been made trips to the NCAA Tournament a tradition over the past decade, seems like a perfect fit for the Warriors’ two-year leading scorer and rebounder.
According to McKay, choosing Marquette was anything but a slam dunk during the recruiting process.
“They were not on my final five teams at first,” McKay said. “They came along real fast just due to the fact that (head) coach Buzz (Williams) started recruiting me strong and (assistant) coach (Isaac) Chew, who recruited me when he was at Missouri and Illinois, came to Marquette.
“All that made it a good fit for me.”
McKay will join a consensus top-10 recruiting class next year, marking the third nationally ranked group of recruits for Williams at Marquette. The NJCAA All-American joins in the footsteps of several former JUCO stars to head to the Golden Eagles, including recent former IHCC and Milwaukee prep star Dwight Buycks.
“If you follow our program at all, everyone knows that I cheer really hard for those who haven’t had a direct path to their goals,” Williams said. “Jameel is on that list and I love his story. I love his demeanor, and I am thankful he has made a decision to come here. He has been coached very hard and won at every level throughout his career.
“Above all his personal goals though, Jameel wants to win more than anything else.”
McKay has a very successful freshman year, leading IHCC to a seventh-place national tournament finish with 14.6 points and 7.7 rebounds. His sophomore season has been even more impressive as McKay is averaging a double-double with 18.3 points and 10.6 rebounds through 15 games including three double-doubles in his last four games.
“I’m really proud of Jameel with the way he’s responded as a leader this season,” Indian Hills head coach Barret Peery said. “I’ve expected a lot from him this season and I wouldn’t have expected anything less then how he’s taken on that role.”
White, meanwhile, has seen his role at Indian Hills develop over his two seasons thus far. The sophomore started in eight of the Warriors first 11 games this season, averaging 7.6 points a game, before an illness kept White out of IHCC’s last two games before the holiday break.
Overall in his two seasons in Ottumwa, White feels he has developed into a much more mature student athlete.
“Coming in here during my freshman year, I was very immature,” White said. “Being here under Coach Peery these past two years has really matured me a lot. It’s taught me how to get things done the right way and not do those childish things I used to do.”
“Trinson’s become a consummate team player,” Peery added. “He’s one of those guys we’ve looked at to be a leader as a returning player. He’s led the way in every way imaginable on and off the floor.”
For White, the decision to head back home to UW-Milwaukee when the opportunity was presented was a no-brainer.
“It was either I was going to Milwaukee of I wasn’t going to be going home,” White said. “I didn’t want to mess with those other schools. I wanted to stay close to home. I didn’t want to be an hour away.”
“Fortunately, it all worked out.”