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Alfonzo McKinnie’s Ascension Towards Being An Elite D-Leaguer

Contributor Francis Adu looks at Alfonzo McKinnie’s rise from being a tryout player to his status as one of the best forwards in the D-League.

Alfonzo McKinnie USA Basketball

Chicago native Alfonzo McKinnie has earned the honor of representing his hometown during this weekend’s NBA D-League All-Star game as a member of the Windy City Bulls.

The word “earned” is certainly appropriate for McKinnie’s basketball career. The 24 year old suffered multiple knee tears while playing for the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. After intensive rehab, McKinnie still trudged forward towards his pro basketball dreams by playing internationally in Luxembourg and Mexico. After returning to Chicago from those two stints, McKinnie readied himself to try out for the Windy City Bulls just before the 2016-17 NBADL season kicked off. The rest is now history.

To anyone unfamiliar with McKinnie’s game, “earned” also acts apropos for his style. Despite being only 6’8” and weighing not much more than 200 pounds, McKinnie is currently fifth in the NBADL in rebounds per game with 9.2 yanks a game. The accomplishment gets even more impressive when one realizes McKinnie has come off the bench as a sixth man for half of the Bulls season and only averages 29 minutes a game.

McKinnie’s bustling energy around the paint and stunning leaping ability makes up for the usual size discrepancy between him and his box-out opponent. That same energy and athleticism also serves him well in terms of finding avenues to score offensively. McKinnie’s superb aerial mastery lends to multiple dunking opportunities a game while hustling down the court in transition, cutting off-ball to the hoop, or even facing up and driving past his bigger defenders.

Those skills become even more impressive when you realize that McKinnie is able to average 15.6 minutes per game despite having an inefficient perimeter jumper (shot 31% from 3) and pedestrian handles.

Hopefully, McKinnie’s participation in this weekend’s NBADL Slam Dunk Contest and NBADL All-Star Game will lead to greater heights for Alfonzo as he still keeps hope for a NBA future. If McKinnie doesn’t earn crowds of new fans from his jaw-dropping leaps into the air this All-Star weekend, he should at least for grinding his way towards being one of the best forwards in the league.

That’s pretty damn good for a player that had to spend $175 to even get an opportunity to try out with the team just six months ago.