Gadsden State signs Mackey

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By Shannon Fagan/Cherokee County Herald

Sand Rock High’s Dylan Mackey has been on Gadsden State basketball coach Todd Ginn’s radar for quite some time.

Mackey remembers his first encounter with Ginn a couple of years ago at a Gadsden State summer camp.

“He was a ref there, and he noticed me shooting,” Mackey said. “He pulled me aside and told me to keep working hard and that he’d be looking at me.”

Ginn did more than look at Mackey. He offered the senior guard a scholarship, and on Apr. 16, Mackey signed with the Cardinals.

“I’m really excited to sign with Gadsden State because of all the hard work I’ve been putting into basketball,” Mackey said. “I’ve always wanted to play college basketball, and the fact that it’s here now is really exciting for me.”

Ginn also shares Mackey’s excitement of him becoming a Cardinal, especially with the resume Mackey brings with him.

The 6-foot-3 Mackey has played numerous positions throughout his varsity career, most notably point guard.

Last season, he averaged 12.4 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.4 steals for the Wildcats (15-15).

The four-year starter also has two Class 2A Northeast Regional championships and a pair of Final 48 appearances under his belt. He also participated in last year’s North-South All-Star game.

“We’re happy to get him,” Ginn said. “The first time I saw him play he was at the point guard position. All the big kids want to play outside before they learn how to play inside, but with Dylan, he already knew how to play inside. He’s handled the ball at point guard outside, and he knows how to use his body down low. He’s clearly done things in the right order. Now he can play any position 1-4.”

“He’s a coach’s kid and knows the game. His size, the way he can shoot the ball, just his mental aspect of the game is going to be really good for us. He’s the kind of guy we go after. I think he’s going to do really well for us.”

As Ginn mentioned, Mackey is the son of Sand Rock coach Brian Mackey. Ginn understands what that’s like because he played basketball at Alexandria High School for his father, the legendary Larry Ginn.

And, like the younger Mackey, Todd Ginn played for a winning program.

“Sometimes these guys who come out of high school aren’t used to winning have to get that (losing) mentality out of them,” Todd Ginn said. “With Dylan, we don’t have to worry about that. He’s been in big games, been to Final Fours, and Sand Rock’s got good tradition in basketball. That’s big with him.”

Coach Mackey said that Dylan’s signing was a bittersweet moment. He knows his son’s future is secure for the next two seasons, but he also hates to lose the talent the younger Mackey has developed.

“He’s matured,” Coach Mackey said. “I pulled him up in eighth grade, and he came in and played real hard and has continued to play hard. He gets after it and has fun playing basketball. You don’t have to push him. Once he gets going, he’s competitive and gets after it.

“It’s been tough on him the last three years being a point guard. I wish I could have developed him more into a scorer. I think I’ve held him back on that end. He’s had to tote a lot the past couple of years, but that’s matured him and developed some skills he wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. I think he’ll represent us well at Gadsden State.”

The younger Mackey said he’s learned a lot throughout his Sand Rock basketball career, and he hopes that translates well at the college level.

“Playing with the people I played with made me better,” he said. “I know [Gadsden State] does a lot of running and getting down the court, and that’s what we did here, so I’m pretty used to that.”

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