A former Public League standout is leaving his mark on the Coppin State Division I men's basketball program.
When Tywain McKee graduates from Coppin State University later this year, the 6-foot-2 guard will have an asterisk next to his name. Instead of being another player buried in the school history books, the athlete from 12th and Bainbridge streets will be headlining a couple chapters.
This even has made McKee worthy of his own page on the Eagles Web site. Clicking "Chasing History Senior Tywain McKee," visitors quickly see he is the all-time scoring leader (1,942) and is closing in on the all-time steals mark (233). He also was the topic of the site's fan poll and trivia question.
McKee claimed the scoring crown during Monday's 77-69 victory over Howard with a game-high 22 points to go along with seven rebounds. He broke the record on a driving layup with 6:19 to play in the second half.
This is exactly the kind of recognition McKee was seeking when he arrived on the Baltimore campus four years ago.
"When I saw the [scoring] record I wanted to be the all-time leading scorer at Coppin State," he said during last week's phone interview. "I made it one of my goals. I wanted to score more than 2,000 points."
Ironically, fellow Bartram High grad Reggie Isaac was the one McKee had been chasing for top scoring honors. If given the opportunity to speak with his fellow Philadelphian, McKee said he would have a few question for the old scoring champ.
"I just want to ask him for some tips," he said.
For McKee, this is the latest accolade on an already impressive college résumé. He is a two-time All-Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference First Team selection, as well as a Preseason Mid-Major All-American for the current season. When sorting through the top-10 of the MEAC individual leaders, the athlete's name appears in a majority of the categories. He is the conference leader in field-goal percentage (79.5) and steals per game (2.9), while his 18.5 scoring average ranks second best and 3.5 assists per game are fifth.
McKee is more concerned his effort provides the needed boost to guide Coppin State to a second-straight NCAA Tournament bid, which would be a school first. Being a Mid-Major, only the MEAC champ earns a bid into the field of 65. With a 3-4 league mark, there is a lot of work to be done. There are 10 regular-season games remaining before next month's conference tournament, where somebody's dance ticket will be punched.
"Hopefully, in the second half of the season, we will make a big push," McKee, a criminal justice major, said.
The downside of being a Mid-Major is it usually means an opening-round tilt against a No. 1 seed. Should Coppin State be fortunate enough to be the team to make the cut, McKee is looking forward to playing the underdog role.
"You've got nothing to lose so you go out there and give it your all and play hard," he said. "You just play hard and hopefully something good will come out of it."
The guard also has a rooting interest in nearby Baltimore City Community College, where younger brother Robert McKee, who played at South Philadelphia High, is a freshman forward.
As McKee seals his spot in the Coppin record books, he is planning his post-graduate dreams of joining the NBA. If successful, the guard would become just the third player in school history to make it. The odds might be better trying to land a lucrative deal overseas, but McKee is determined to play with the big boys. The athlete said the career path will require improving on his strength, but he is up for the challenge.
"I wouldn't mind going [overseas], but I would still chase going to the NBA," McKee said. "I feel that's the only league to be in."
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