Heading into last season, Junior College transfer Shaquille McKissic thought he was going to get one year with ASU since arriving on campus from Edmonds College in Lynwood, Washington. He made the most of it having breakout season with the Devils, averaging nine points and five rebounds per game.
After the season was over, ASU made a request to the NCAA to consider a sixth year of eligibility for McKissic because of unique circumstances that arose while at the JUCO level at Edmonds. He spent a lot of time away from the game during his tenure for multiple reasons but mainly after an attempted burglary arrest.
In April, that request was granted and McKissic will have one more year with the Sun Devils.
“One of my best moments as a coach was when we were able to share that news with Shaq,” ASU Head Coach Herb Sendek said. “It almost doesn’t get any better than that.”
“There is no greater feeling,” McKissic stated. “Now getting to play here in the states rather than overseas, there is just nothing like it.”
For a person that played each moment in college as if it were going to be their last, like any senior would, McKissic even surpassed his own expectations for himself last season. Now getting another shot at his last year in a Sun Devil uniform, he plans to elevate his game that much further.
“I knew that I was capable of averaging about nine or so points last year but that was me being maybe the fourth or fifth option,” he explained. “Now to be that first or second option, when you’re working out there is no better motivation. You know that teams are scouting for you and you have to bring your best every night.”
And speaking of motivation, there may not be better motivation for all the returning Sun Devils than the taste they have left in their mouth after a crushing last second 87-85 loss to Texas in the first round of the NCAA Tournament last season. But McKissic personally takes a lot more from that experience than just the outcome to motivate himself and his teammates as summer workouts are back underway.
“I think about it every single day and not so much that game but the atmosphere,” McKissic mentions. “There was nothing like that being on live television across the country and getting to play a great team like Texas.”
“The way it ended, that’s just motivation every day,” he added. “I never want to feel that pain again.”
While McKissic is happy to get one more year to play in the states with ASU, he still has dreams of being able to do so after college as well. Right now he is monitoring his former teammates Jahii Carson and Jordan Bachynski while they are participating in workouts leading up to the NBA Draft. And trying to learn and prepare himself to have the opportunity to do the same a year from now.
“I’ve talked to them about it and Jordan and Jahii, especially Jordan is extremely excited,” McKissic said. “I don’t think he thought he could do this well. But I always believed and knew that he could. As far as me getting into that position next year, that’s just work. That’s all I’ll ever know and I just have to grind it out, have an awesome year next year and get back to the Tourney and advance.”