You won’t find him on any national top-100 lists yet, and there are just a few grainy highlight videos on YouTube.
But Queens native Jaquan Mckennon has a checklist of lofty goals, and the Class of 2015 5-10 point guard will try and finish many of them off and make a name for himself at Cardozo High.
“I have two years and I just want to go to the Garden and take that PSAL city championship,” Mckennon said. “I think I’m a high-Division I player, so hopefully after those two years I’ll be able to get to my dream.”
Mckennon was the starting point guard on St. Raymond’s last year as a sophomore and helped lead the Ravens to the CHSAA NYC Archdiocesan title, and earned all-league honors along the way, but the hour-and-a-half bus ride each way from Queens to the Bronx started to interfere with his study time and rest when he wasn’t on the court.
Without any Division I offers yet, but several mid- to high-majors beginning to take interest, he will need all the energy he has to emerge as one of the elite point guards in the famed PSAL—which in turn would put him among the tops in the country.
While he ran with the Albany City Rocks this spring and summer and made elite eight appearances at Boo Williams, and at the AAU nationals in Orlando, he most recently showed out on another venue synonymous with the Big Apple.
His 42-point performance at the Hoops in the Sun high school All-Star game held at Dyckman Park in late July earned him MVP honors.
“In New York City you have a lot playground tournaments at Rucker, Dyckman as well as Hoops in the Sun,” Mckennon said. “It was a great atmosphere on the beach and a great chance to show my talent to some people in the City. It felt great because I felt like all my hard work was turning into results. I put in a lot of work seven days a week, and to see some results was a great experience.”
He’s hoping those results continue this winter at Cardozo where he plans bringing his scoring ability, court vision, flashy passing ability and yet one more trait necessary for a point guard to have success in New York City—supreme confidence.
“I’m a great leader as a point guard and I think I can run a team,” Mckennon said. “If I need to get my teammates involved, I will. If I need to score, I will. Anything I need to do to win the game, I’ll do—points, rebounds, assists—it don’t matter.”
Mckennon isn’t the fastest point guard, or the highest leaper, but his strong build and strength with the ball in his hands make it difficult to bump him off of where he wants to go on the court.
He was quick to mention Rafer Alston and Royal Ivey as a couple guards who have donned Cardozo jerseys—but when Darryl Hill’s name was dropped, despite being before Mckennon’s time, he quickly remembered.
“Oh right, Showtime,” Mckennon said.
Alston, Ivey and Hill all went on to play Division I out of Cardozo, and Mckennon’s been working tirelessly since he could dribble a basketball to be next in line of the crowd-pleasing DI hoopers.
“That’s just part of my game,” said Mckennon of the flair he plays with. “High school games, or streetball games, that’s just part of my game—getting the crowd involved in the game. [Cardozo] has produced a lot of great guards and coach [Ron] Naclerio has produced a lot of great guards so I hope to try and continue the legacy.”