McKinney and Garrity among best in school history


Senior Mikh McKinney makes a two point shot to cut Montana’s lead to 64-61 during the basketball game against Montana on Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015. The game ended with a score of 70-69, with Sacramento State as the winner. This was the team’s sixth win in a row.

Mike McGough

When future generations look at the history of men’s basketball at Sacramento State, two players from the 2014-15 roster will stand out as all-time greats.

Dylan Garrity, 22, and Mikh McKinney, 23—both seniors, both guards and both team co-captains—have made massive contributions to this season’s Big Sky Conference-leading Hornets (15-6 overall, 9-1 in conference), while simultaneously etching their names at or near the top of several of Sac State’s all-time and Division I era leaderboards with their career numbers.

Garrity recorded his 502nd career assist Jan. 29 in front of an overflow crowd of 1,250 spectators in the Hornets’ Nest, receiving a standing ovation as he surpassed the previous record of 501 set by DaShawn Freeman in 2006 for the highest count in program history.

“It’s always nice to get recognized for something like that, but I’m not into all the awards and breaking stuff,” Garrity said. “I’m here for the team, just to get wins. That’s what’s most important.”

The guard stands at 504 assists as of Saturday night’s 70-69 win over University of Montana, a thriller in which Garrity shot the game-winning 3-pointer.

Garrity has started more games than any player in the history of men’s basketball at Sac State with 104 starts. The senior also represents the Hornets’ best 3-point shooter (42.7 percent) and free throw shooter (83.7 percent) in the Division I era, which began in 1991 for Sac State.

To Sac State coach Brian Katz, Garrity’s numbers are impressive within the context of a winning team.

“I think that any time you start talking about trying to rank players, I think winning has to matter,” Katz said. “And, you know, obviously we’re winning and he [Garrity] has a heck of a lot to do with that.”

McKinney, meanwhile, has scored 32 or more points in a game three times this season. He notched 32 points in a Dec. 14 loss against Portland and did it again in a Jan. 15 win over the Idaho Vandals, both home games, before setting a new career best with 33 points in a road win over Weber State on Jan. 24.

The Big Sky Conference awarded McKinney with Player of the Week honors for all three efforts. Three such awards in a single season marks another school record for the senior.

“I don’t have any personal goals as far as scoring a certain amount of points,” McKinney said. “It’s just being a great team leader and doing what I have to do to help win the game.”

McKinney loves to share the ball too, as his mark of 323 assists as of Saturday’s victory over Montana places him right behind Freeman for third most in men’s basketball’s Division I era at Sac State.

“We’re going to go as far as Mikh will take us, basically,” Garrity said. “He’s led us this far. So, I mean, he’s going to be a great player, and I think one of the best to ever come out of this school.”

McKinney and Garrity are two of the most prolific scorers in program history.

As of Saturday night, McKinney stands at 1,235 points and Garrity at 1,234, good for seventh and eighth most all-time at Sac State, respectively.

The 2014-15 season marks the duo’s third season playing together as Hornets. Garrity, a Huntington Beach native, earned a starting role at point guard for Sac State in 2011-12 as a true freshman. McKinney joined the squad a year later after playing two years at Ohlone College, a junior college in Fremont, California.

“They both make us an efficient offensive team,” Katz said. “And because they’re experienced now, they have very good intelligence about how to go about winning the game.”

Both players crossed the quadruple-digit threshold for points scored during preconference play this season. Garrity reached the mark during a Dec. 4 road loss to Abilene Christian University and McKinney on Dec. 14 in an 80-75 home loss to Portland.

“At the end of my career, when I’m done here, I would be most prideful in winning the Big Sky,” McKinney said. “That’s our goal. Going to the NCAA Tournament, that’s what I’d be most prideful about. And it’d be nice to look back at some of my accolades also that I would have accomplished while I was here as well.”

The stats, records and accolades achieved by Garrity and McKinney may not be as important as the players’ leadership qualities, according to Katz. The coach spoke on each co-captain’s ability to foster improvement among teammates.

“Mikh does it more—he’s more vocal; Dylan’s more by example, but he’ll pick his spots too,” Katz said. “They’re both totally respected by their teammates, so whenever they speak, people are going to listen and they’re going to take it to heart.”

Garrity gave praise to the role that Katz has played in the senior’s life.

“Coach Katz has been a huge blessing in my life,” Garrity said. “He’s basically a second father to me, always helping me with stuff on and off the court, which is not what—not most Division I coaches would do that.”

Garrity hopes to play basketball overseas when his Sac State career is over, listing Spain and Italy as countries of particular interest.

But here in Sacramento, there are games left to win. Whatever success awaits the Hornets for the remainder of this season, one can be sure that Garrity and McKinney will be a part of it.