There’s been a lot of movement in the ASEAN Basketball League during this holiday break. The biggest move of all however, might be a hinted Heritage Import signing to one of the top teams in the league. All signs are pointing to Filipino-American Mikh McKinney signing with Chong Son Kung Fu Basketball Club.
It was a December 23rd and while most fans had already scurried to focus on other basketball leagues around the world while the ABL took a break, Kung Fu’s star World Import Anthony Tucker posted something on instagram.
The content of the image is pretty much old news. What’s more interesting is the caption of the post or more specifically, the people tagged in it.
You have his Chong Son Kung Fu team mates Justin Howard (@justinhowardofficial), Caelan Tiongson (@caelantiongson), Jonathan Bermillo (@j_bermz)… and @m_mckinney10.
McKinney is not a household name (not yet anyways), but fans who are familiar with the ASEAN-American basketball circuit are sure to have heard or read his name somewhere, in part because of how he spells his name. More importantly, McKinney is known to have Filipino Heritage, which makes him a candidate to be eligible as a Heritage Import in the ASEAN Basketball League.
But let’s not jump the gun here.
Maybe Tucker just tagged McKinney by mistake. These things happen to us, even the best instagrammers fall prey to fat fingers every now and then. Let’s not jump the gun and over read the situation based on just one stupid instagram event. Who are we, TMZ?
…that’s pretty straightforward. Digging into McKinney’s recent instagram posts like the stalker that I am found that McKinney has indeed been “getting ready for this next adventure across the water” and that his trainer has been “keeping my body right and getting me ready for the long grind of the season”. Everything seems pretty much all but confirmed after McKinney replied to Mister @mikesm1th that he was headed “out to China to play in the ABL”.
But China is a big country right? Maybe there’s some other league called the ABL that McKinney might be playing for?
That’s possible right?
Props to the Sol Mercado (@m3rcmywords) of Barangay Ginebra San Miguel for asking the right question, prompting McKinney to reply with a more specific answer saying that he will be playing for Chong Son Kung Fu.
All signs are leading us to 99.9% confidence that indeed, Mikh McKinney is going to be suiting up for Chong Son Kung Fu Basketball Club soon.
The has been no confirmation from the team/league about the signing and his eligibility as a Heritage Import.
Who is Mikh McKinney?
I was afraid you weren’t going to ask.
McKinney is a wispy thin guard who just scores and scores and scores. And I think he scores, too. Though he’s only listed at 6’1″ and 170, McKinney seems to have always found a way to flat out score, averaging in double-digits throughout all of his years playing for the Sacramento State Hornets.
Sacramento State is not exactly a big-time school and the Big Sky is not a power conference, but to average 19.2 points on 43.0% three-point shooting with 4.9 assists in his senior season is certainly not something to laugh about. His level of play is confirmed as he was named the 2015 Big Sky Player of the Year, 2015 First Team All-Big Sky, and was also an 2015 AP Honorable Mention All-American.
Some other AP Honorable Mention All-Americans in 2015 are Kris Dunn (Chicago Bulls), Ron Baker (New York Knicks), Stanley Johnson (Detroit Pistons), among others. Not bad company.
McKinney first played professionally in Belgium with the Port of Antwerp Giants, producing around 8 points per game among all competitions for the team.
After his overseas stint, McKinney went to the NBA D-League (or G-League, I guess) and got drafted early in the second round. Though he never got to play for the team that drafted him (Northern Arizona Suns), he was quickly picked up by the Delaware 87ers. With the 87ers, McKinney played 31 games and averaged 5.4 points, 2.5 assists, and 1.9 rebounds.
Long story short, McKinney has been scoring among the best of the best for a while and he should be scoring in bunches should he ever join the ABL.
What does this mean for Chong Son Kung Fu?
First of all, if McKinney is eligible as a Heritage Import, he’ll have to take up the spot of either Caelan Tiongson or Jonathan Bermillo.
Bermillo: 17.4 MPG, 2.0 PPG, 2.3 RPG
Tiongson: 30.1 MPG, 12.7 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 3.7 APG
With much respect to Bermillo, this seems like it would be an easy choice on who Kung Fu will probably be cutting.
Though it’s tough to point out anything as a “weakness” for the undefeated Chong Son Kung Fu team, perimeter shooting is an area that they could certainly improve on. Tucker’s absurd shooting has cloaked the fact that Chong Son Kung Fu are shooting only 30.6% from down town (well below the top-tier of the league of ~35%) on only 7.3 made attempts per game (3rd worst). They’ve been able to go through their first three games of the season unscathed, but Charles Dube-Brais probably realizes that if he wants to win the whole thing this season he’ll need to add another perimeter option.
Having Tiongson, Howard, and Guo Kai to bang it up down low is a nice advantage but in the end, they needed another perimeter floor spacer to give the big guys some breathing room aside from Tucker.
McKinney should be a great answer to their needs.
What does this mean for the rest of the League?
It was difficult enough to guard them with Tucker as their main perimeter threat. Now it’s possible that they have an option of giving it to a scorer who can effectively create his own shot?
Brace yourselves for impact.