McKinney takes job at East Laurens

Jonquin McKinney Sr. is headed to East Laurens! As of last week, he is now the official assistant coach for the Falcons’ basketball team.

“I developed a love for the game when I was just a small kid, but I didn’t know at the time how passionate I would become about basketball,” he said, now 35-years-old. “I grew up bleeding Black and Gold, played at Morris College in Sumter, South Carolina, and worked with an NBA manager. When my wife, Patriona, became pregnant with our first child, I came back home and started coaching.”

Since then, he has accumulated an impressive resume, working under local basketball coaching legends, including Leroy Jordan, Bobby Andrews, and Brice Hobbs.

In 2011, McKinney coached under Jordan’s leadership in the Final 4. In 2015, under the guidance of Andrews, McKinney with back to the Final 4 as a coach, and he did so again in 2017 and 2020 with Hobbs.

McKinney has helped Swainsboro High to four region championships and one state title in 2020.

Making the move to join East Laurens, he says, was like a a “Ram and a Bush.” The move itself had been in the works for a couple months and was finalized March 11, 2021.

As the boys’ assistant basketball coach, McKinney’s responsibilities will include developing players’ skills and ensuring they understand scouting reports.

“I’m very excited and ready to bring my knowledge, enthusiasm, and work ethic for the game to Falcon Nation. My goal is to help the players get better and for them to get back to a winning program.”

Although he is fully invested with his new school, McKinney is adamant that his love for Swainsboro remains. He says he has had great coaching moments here, calling it “very unusual,” getting to coach both his younger brothers and experiencing the winning of a state championship with the same kids he started his own basketball program, ATAP Fundamentals, with. On that note, he adds his new gig with East Laurens will not impact ATAP; he will continue to train all his clients.

“I love basketball because it’s a beautiful game, and it brings me joy when I’m able to help an individual excel in this game. In the words of the late great Bobby Andrews, ‘I’ve been battle tested.’ With this transition, there will be much more success with the knowledge I’ve gained while coaching,” McKinney said. “I’d like to say thank you to my wife and my children—Savannah, Quin Jr., and Secret—for always being there and believing in my dreams. I’d also like to thank all the parents and kids who believed in me from the very beginning.”

Falcons’ head coach Dwayne Lowther, players, and all of East Laurens will welcome McKinney to campus this summer.

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