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Maycock Finding Her Way In 2nd Year At Bona

Through four games, McKenna Maycock is averaging 4.5 points, five rebounds and 1. 5 assists. P-J photo by Scott Reagle

ST. BONAVENTURE — Mckenna Maycock has a lot to be thankful for these days.

Not many local high school athletes are fortunate enough to play the game they love collegiately. Even fewer get to play it at a major-college level less than an hour away from home.

And while Maycock won’t be home with family this afternoon for a traditional Thanksgiving feast, she probably isn’t complaining about hopping on a plane bound for Florida as the Bonnies prepare to play in the UCF Thanksgiving Classic in Orlando on Saturday and Sunday.

Recruited for years by former St. Bonaventure head coach Jim Crowley, Maycock is not only being given a chance to play, but a chance to start this fall for a young Bonnies team led by first-year coach Jesse Fleming.

The 5-foot-9 guard from Randolph is seemingly making the most of her opportunity.

By the end of the season, St. Bonaventure coach Jesse Fleming expects Mckenna Maycock (10) to be an integral part of the program. P-J photo by Scott Reagle

Through four games this season, the two-time New York State Sportswriters Association Class C Player of the Year is averaging 4.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game while starting three of the four contests.

“When I got here I told everybody that they have a clean slate, no matter if you played a lot last year, if they’re newcomers … every position is still open, I still think that’s the case,” said Fleming said last Friday while the Bonnies were on their way to Delaware. ” … There’s still battles, minutes to be earned. I don’t think anybody has earned a spot yet … It’s going to take some time, it’s early.

“I don’t think any freshman knows how to play defense,” Fleming added. “It’s something that can be taught eventually, but you’ve got to kind of get your feet held to the fire at times. … That’s the biggest thing for newcomers, earning the trust of the coaching staff, that they can guard.”

More important than the numbers she is putting up are the minutes she is playing. Maycock is averaging 23.3 minutes per game, including 28 per game in the three she started.

“I didn’t know I’d have a starting role. I knew I was definitely going to have a bigger role than last year,” Maycock said following a loss to Canisius last week. “I didn’t know what that meant, whether starting or just playing a lot more minutes. It was surprising, just trying to adjust to my new position and do well in it, whatever it might be.”

St. Bonaventure’s Mckenna Maycock drives to the basket between two Canisius defenders during a women’s basketball earlier this season at the Reilly Center. P-J photo by Scott Reagle

In the Bonnies’ first regular season game of the year, Maycock scored a career-high 10 points, including her first collegiate 3-pointer — a shot that was a large part of her arsenal throughout a stellar high school career that saw her finish No. 1 in Randolph history and No. 5 in New York state history with 2,947 points.

“It was a really exciting moment. It’s been a while,” Maycock said about the 3-pointer. “I’d say the biggest thing is being an energy player. Getting rebounds, getting stops, trying to bring the whole team up and occassionally score, but the biggest thing is just bring the energy.”

In Maycock’s next two games — a win over Colgate and a loss to Canisius — the sophomore twice pulled down eight rebounds, and added three assists in the loss to the Golden Griffins.

“Mckenna came in, you want to talk about effort, that kid, the way she rebounds at the guard position is really, really impressive. She has energy, she can run the floor with her sterling track background. She’s added a 3-point shot, she knocked one down against Niagara,” said Fleming said, who was a member of the Bowling Green coaching staff the past three years. “For as many minutes as she gets — I think she logged 34 minutes in one game — there’s going to be some ups and downs with that expanded role. As far as her effort, there’s no complaints there. She’s going to get better and better.”

OFFSEASON TRANSITION

Part of the reason for Maycock’s increased role this fall is the loss of several players from a season ago. Katie Healy, the Bonnies’ fourth all-time leading scorer, graduated and is now playing professionally in Greece. Graduate students Emily Michael and Kelcie occasionally  completed their eligibility and senior Nyla Rueter also graduated.

“I would’ve loved to have the senior class that was there last year. It’s good both ways … you have some newer minds that were kind of part of a little bit of a winning culture,” Fleming said. “Now we can kind of do a little bit of what we’re trying to build and the style we’re trying to play. They have a fresh mindset that you can mold over the couple years that they’re here. There are positives and negatives to both.”

Unexpected departures for St. Bonaventure came following the season when head coach Jim Crowley took the head coaching job at Providence College and sophomore Miranda Drummond followed Crowley out the door, transfering to national runner-up Syracuse. Drummond, St. Bonaventure’s second-leading scorer at 12.3 points per game, was the co-Class C Player of the Year in 2014 with Maycock.

“When I got the job, the next three weeks I was basically on the road. I went into the homes of the newcomers and the returners, flew all over the country, just more to sit with their parents, let them know that even though I didn’t recruit them, I was going to take care of them,” Fleming said. “I gave them my vision of what I think our program can be. … We’ve coached the kids pretty hard and they’ve responded, There is a good level of trust, but it’s something that we have to keep working at every day, that’s for sure.”

Maycock herself was unsure about her future when Crowley left, knowing that he had been the Bonnies’ coach who had recruited throughout her years playing for Coach Shawn Huntington at Randolph.

“I didn’t know what was going to happen. I didn’t know what the coaching staff was going to be like. Everything worked out,” Maycock said. “I knew I was staying the whole time, I was just nervous about the coaching change. He came and met our family. He made us feel comfortable about being our new coach.”

NEW OPPORTUNITIES

And while the Bonnies may struggle early this season due to the immense amount of talent gone from last year’s NCAA Tournament second-round team, Maycock decided she would take advantage of her chance to make an impact on the floor, hopefully setting herself up for a successful final three years in the Reilly Center.

“It is a growth year in a way, but I think we just have to work the kinks out in the beginning,” Maycock said. “We’ve got to learn to know each other on the court. I think this year we can keep growing and play our best basketball in March.”

No matter how successful the Bonnies wind up this season, Fleming sees Maycock as an integral part of St. Bonaventure’s future over the next couple of seasons.

“I would love it if all of them would score right now. (Maycock) was our second-leading against Niagara with 10 points. She’s at five points and six rebounds per game right now,” Fleming said. I would love to see more consistency out of her if every time she caught it, driving to the basket. She needs to finish a little better around the hoop. By the end of this year, she could be a legitimate scoring option.

“That’s where we see her. She should have a spot on the wing for the next couple of years. For us to be good, she’s got to become more consistent and bring that aspect of scoring and defense, and become a complete all-around player,” Fleming added. “She has the motor and the skills, but she has to keep refining them and building her confidence. I definitely think she has a big future for us. She’s playing a ton of minutes for us right now and I hope that she keeps getting better and better.”

By the way, don’t worry about the Bonnies eating at some airport fast-food restaurant for the holiday. Maycock and her teammates will enjoy a home-cooked Thanksgiving feast at the home of junior Matea Britvar, who hails from the greater Orlando area.

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