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David McKinley

David McKinley

David McKinley was hired as Director of Player Development by head coach Lamont Paris on Wednesday, April 13, 2022. He was promoted to assistant coach in 2023-24. McKinley joined the Gamecocks after spending five seasons on Paris’ staff at Chattanooga, including three seasons there (2019-22) as an assistant coach. He enters his third season with the Gamecocks in 2024-25.

In year two (2023-24) at South Carolina, McKinley was part of a staff that helped orchestrate the greatest single-season turnaround in program history. The Gamecocks went 26-8 and returned to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2017. The 26 victories tied the 2016-17 Final Four team for the most single-season wins in program history. Carolina’s 15-win improvement was tied for the second-best mark in the nation. The team’s 25 regular season wins were a new program record. The Gamecocks went 13-5 in SEC play, good for a T-2nd finish in the league. The 13 SEC wins tied the 1997 SEC title team for the most SEC wins in program history (Carolina joined the league in 1991-92).

The Gamecocks won seven SEC games on the road in 2023-24, tying the 1996-97 team for the most SEC victories away from home in a single season. Carolina finished the year with a 12-5 record in true road and neutral site games. The Gamecocks were one of just 18 teams in the country with multiple top-10 wins and one of five teams in the nation with a top-five true road win. Carolina had a seven-game SEC win streak, which included beating No. 6/6 Kentucky 79-62 at home on Jan. 23 and No. 5/5 Tennessee, 63-59, in Knoxville on Jan. 30. Per Elias Sports Bureau, it was the first time the Gamecocks had defeated a pair of top-10 teams in a three-game stretch since 1968. Carolina’s win over the Vols was the team’s first AP Top-Five road victory since defeating No. 3 Kentucky, 72-66, on March 2, 1997. The Gamecocks returned to the top-25 for the first time since 2017 back in Week 14 on Feb. 5 and remained there the last seven weeks of the season. The team finished the year ranked No. 23 in the final USA Today Coaches Poll and No. 25 in the final AP Top-25, marking the first time Carolina was ranked in the final AP poll since 1998. The Gamecocks were ranked as high as No. 11 in both major polls.

Carolina allowed just 66.4 points per game during the regular season in 2023-24, which led the SEC. The Gamecocks held 25 opponents below 70 points, which T-7th best mark in the nation. Carolina was one of just four teams in the SEC to rank in the top-50 of adjusted efficiency on offense and defense via KenPom.

The team welcomed nine newcomers, including four key transfer additions in 2023-24. Guards Ta’Lon Cooper and Meechie Johnson were named Second Team All-SEC, marking the first time the Gamecocks had multiple All-SEC selections since 2009. Cooper averaged 4.2 assists per game and finished 8th in the country in assists-to-turnover ratio (3.51:1). He shot a career-best 45.9 percent from 3-point territory. Johnson led the team in scoring, averaging a career-best 14.1 points per game. He scored 20 or more points on 10 occasions, a career-best mark. Forward Collin Murray-Boyles was named to the SEC All-Freshman Team after averaging 10.4 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.0 blocks and 1.0 steals per game. He led the team to its first victory in the SEC Tournament since 2018 with 24 points, seven rebounds and four steals in a 80-66 win over Arkansas.

In season one at South Carolina in 2022-23, the team had an overhauled roster with eight new players, including just 14.9 percent of the team’s scoring and 18.4 percent of the minutes played returning from the year prior. The Gamecocks defeated Clemson at home, 60-58, for the first time since Dec. 19, 2014. The conference slate was highlighted by road wins at Kentucky, at Ole Miss and at LSU. The Gamecocks wire-to-wire victory at Rupp Arena on Jan. 10 was the team’s first there since 2009 and just the program’s third all-time win in Lexington since joining the SEC (1992). Carolina nearly knocked off SEC Champion and No. 2/2 Alabama at home but fell in overtime, 78-76, thanks to a late bucket from SEC Player of the Year Brandon Miller.

Several players had their most productive seasons to date under the new staff in year one in Columbia. Sophomore Jacobi Wright averaged 7.3 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game. He had a career-best six games in double figures in SEC play. Josh Gray led the team in rebounding, averaging 6.3 per game and 7.9 rebounds per contest in league action. He had a career-best eight games with 10 or more rebounds, seven of which came in SEC action. Gray also had the best game of his career with 20 points and 14 rebounds vs. Arkansas. Johnson averaged 12.7 points (second on team) and 3.6 assists per contest (eighth in the SEC). He led the team with 70 makes from behind the arc and was one of just eight players in the SEC to make 70 or more 3s.

The staff made early in-roads recruiting over the summer in 2022 with local product Gregory “GG” Jackson II reclassifying and enrolling early. The consensus top player in the 2023 class, Jackson was the highest rated signee in program history (recruit rankings started in early 2000s) and joined PJ Dozier (2015-17) as the only five-star Gamecock freshmen. Jackson would go on to earn All-SEC Freshman honors while leading the team in scoring at 15.4 points per game. He had 11 20-point games, the most by a Carolina freshman since joining the SEC in 1991-92. Jackson would go on to be selected 45th overall by the Memphis Grizzles in the 2023 NBA Draft. He became the first NBA Draft pick for the program since All-American Sindarius Thornwell in 2017.

In his first season, Jackson appeared in 48 games for Memphis, averaging 14.6 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game while shooting 42.8 percent from the floor and 35.7 percent from 3. He was named to the NBA’s All-Rookie Second Team, becoming the fourth Gamecock and first since Brian Winters in 1975 to be named to the NBA All-Rookie Team.

McKinley played collegiately at Ohio University where he was a four-year letterwinner from 2009-13. He was a team captain his last two seasons and was a member of the 2012 Bobcats squad that won a school record 29 games. The team advanced to the Sweet 16 before falling in overtime to North Carolina.

After graduation, McKinley served as a graduate assistant at Ohio from 2014-16. He then worked as video coordinator at Wright State for one season in 2016-17. He was assistant to the head coach in Paris’ first season at Chattanooga in 2017-18. McKinley then served as director of operations in 2018-19 before being promoted to assistant coach the past three seasons, during which the Mocs posted a 65-29 record and won the 2022 Southern Conference Regular Season and Tournament Championships. A native of Dublin, Ohio, McKinley has undergraduate (’13) and graduate degrees (’16) from Ohio.

“David is a very good young coach with a lot of energy and enthusiasm for the game of basketball,” said Paris. “He has excelled in a variety of roles in this profession, and I’m excited to have him continue that in his new role at South Carolina.”

McKinley and his wife Kelsey, married in 2013, have two daughters, Quinn and Leighton.