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St. Bonaventure, Mckenna Maycock counting on return to postseason

Mckenna Maycock has her act together, her i’s dotted and t’s crossed.

Even her j’s are much improved.

The former Randolph High basketball standout needed only three years to graduate with a degree in accounting from St. Bonaventure. She’s working on her MBA. She already has a job lined up with an accounting firm in Buffalo, on the fast track to a rewarding career.

But in the interim, the Bonnies are counting on Maycock to help lead the women’s basketball program to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since her freshman year.

“It definitely feels weird,” Maycock said this week, “because I remember coming in and having five great leaders to look up to, so it’s just crazy to think that three years have passed and now it’s my job to lead as others have led me in the past.”

Maycock, the team’s only senior in terms of playing eligibility, is off to a great start after approaching a triple-double in the Bonnies' season-opening 76-48 victory at Niagara on Tuesday night, when the guard racked up 10 points, 10 assists, seven rebounds and three steals in 30 minutes on the court. All of those, except for the points, were team highs.

The stellar performance wasn’t much of a surprise.

Maycock first arrived at St. Bonaventure in 2015 as a two-time Class C NYS player of the year and The Buffalo News’ three-sport athlete of the year. She has developed into a standout player in the Atlantic 10 Conference, and despite missing a chunk of last season with a knee injury, was a unanimous selection for the 2018-19 Preseason All-Big 4 women’s basketball first team, as voted by media and the athletic communications staffs at the four schools.

“She kind of played some spot minutes and was a little bit of a defensive specialist as a freshman, and it’s been really neat to watch her growth over three years,” Bonnies coach Jesse Fleming said. “Unfortunately, she would have had a heck of a year last year if she didn’t hurt her knee in the middle of the year. She was playing great. But just her skill level – she didn’t shoot threes when she got here, and I think she led the A-10 in three-point shooting percentage last year because she works. She puts in the time. She’s worked to develop her weak hand. And she has a great motor, as well. I can play her for 40 minutes and not even worry about it.”

And as far as off the court?

“She’s just a special kid in that regard,” Fleming said. “Graduated with her accounting degree, so it’s not some easy major. She works and she’s got elite marks in that. She just puts in the time. She’s about the right things. She works on basketball, she works on school and keeps them in the right order and dedicates her time to the right things. And she’s got some great genes. Her parents are both teachers and I think education was always important in their household, so that’s really allowed her to thrive at a Division I school and still do well academically.”

Maycock’s dad, Michael, ran cross-country and track at Tri-State University.

Her mom, Robin, played college basketball at Fredonia State and serves as the volleyball coach and an assistant basketball coach at Randolph, where both parents are math teachers.

It figures Mckenna pursued a career in accounting.

“She was always super good at math,” Robin Maycock said. “We both had her in class. She was just as competitive in the classroom as she was on the court. I liked her because she was a good student. Always had her homework done. Always ready to go. She was valedictorian at her high school.”

Robin believes her daughter’s competitive spirit was instilled at a young age.

She is the youngest of four siblings, with two brothers and a sister.

“Out in the driveway, she just always thought she was as good,” Robin said. “And we were actually worried because she just seemed so uncoordinated in the beginning, because she was left-handed. But once she caught on, she was great.”

Mckenna was a unanimous All-Big 4 selection and one of the most improved players in the A-10 last year, when the guard averaged 11.6 points on 47.1 percent shooting, 6.2 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game. She also led the conference with a 47.6 shooting percentage from three-point range.

But after matching a career high with 23 points in an upset victory against Penn State, improving the Bonnies’ record to 5-5, Maycock injured her left knee on Dec. 15, 2017, in a loss to Buffalo and missed the next nine games, sitting out for more than a month before returning Jan. 25 at Fordham.

The Bonnies went 3-17 after her injury, finishing with an 8-22 record and just three victories in the conference. They went 1-9 after she returned, but she played the final 10 games with a brace on her leg, which she doesn't plan to wear this season.

“I did not like it,” Maycock said. “It was difficult because I wasn’t as mobile as I used to be. I definitely wasn’t as quick, so I felt like, and not only because of the brace but my knee in general, I just wasn’t able to be exactly how I was before that. So I’m just ready to be the player I was before I got hurt. …

“Obviously, I was on one of the best teams that we ever had here, so I saw what it took to get to the position. The skills, the practice. And I’ve also seen what a losing team looks like and why we were losing, so I think I can bring that skill set and knowledge to this year’s team.”

With a reduced course load and her career lined up, Maycock has more time to concentrate on basketball.

Staying loose is the key to her and the Bonnies’ success.

“Mckenna, I want her to be a leader,” Fleming said. “But I just want this to be the best basketball year of her life. I want it to be where she just has a ton of fun, and we’re able to win games, and she has a great experience.

"I don’t want her to have to worry all the time about the burden of leadership. I want her to lead by example a little bit and I want her to speak when she sees that things aren’t going the way they should be culture-wise. But really I want her to just go out there and play.”

Robin Maycock thinks her daughter is primed for the best season of her career, and life after basketball.

“I’ve seen her grow into a more mature leader, and she’s calmed down,” she said. “Mckenna can get uptight or put so much pressure on herself, and so it was nice to see her during the exhibition game just smiling all night and just enjoying herself.

“I know Jesse says the same thing. He knows the pressure she puts herself under with school and basketball, and he just wants her to have fun, too. Just go for it this year. Just have fun.”

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