Coming across junior college transfers who have one year of eligibility left is quite rare, but with the makeup of its roster it made sense for Arizona State to pursue such prospects. Shaquielle McKissic, a 6-5 200-pound guard from Edmonds (Wash.) Junior College, fit that description and following a visit to Tempe this week, he decided to pledge to the Sun Devils.
“It was excellent visit and I probably met the most polite people I ever met in my life,” McKissic said. “Everybody was really caring, the city of Phoenix is a beautiful place, and on the visit I knew this is where I wanted to be. I don’t want to play in any conference but the Pac-12. It’s great competition, and I get to play against players I played against in the last few years.
“I went back and talked things over with my family. They weren’t there with me on the trip, so I was sitting there and describing the school to them. They know what I want to do after college and where I can get the best exposure, and Arizona State was definitely the best place for me. I was just blown away.”
A few months ago McKissic was close to signing with West Virginia, but the Mountaineers decided to go in a different direction. University of Detroit and Nevada were also showing interest in McKissic, who averaged 23 points and nine rebounds per game. With the loss of Evan Gordon, who transferred to Indiana, the Sun Devils were faced with the prospect of starting a true freshman in the backcourt along with Jahii Carson.
McKissic, who scored a career-high 46 points in one game at Edmonds, brings a more physical and athletic element to that shooting guard role.
“More than just being a good offensive player, the (ASU) coaches want me to be a defensive stopper,” he said. “I’m up to any challenge and I don’t shy away from anything.”
McKissic noted the campus size and the Weatherup Center as factors that impressed him during his visit. A conversation and workout with Carson also made impressions.
“I talked to Jahii a lot, and he’s a player that makes other players better,” McKissic ssaid.
“Watching him play on TV I saw him any times just go off, and it was always in the back of my mind what would it be like playing with a player like him.”
McKissic graduated from Kentridge High School in Seattle four years ago and originally signed with Northern Idaho but never enrolled there. He played at Edmonds in the 2009-10 season but then sat out the next two seasons for what he termed as “personal reasons that have made me a better person and made me the person I am now.”