September 21, 2007
by Jim Junot
Virginia State University Sports Information Director
Hers is a tale told countless times over on millions of basketball courts in America.
Becky McKee started playing basketball when she was around four. A self-described "snotty-nosed little sister" to her brothers, she always joined in their pick-up games in Kerrville, TX.
Eventually, McKee made it to Brown Mackie Community College on a basketball scholarship. She then transferred to Virginia State University, where her on-court career blossomed.
She was named to the All-CIAA team in 2001, then led the Lady Trojans to their first CIAA Tournament title in 14 years in 2002.
After her senior season in 2001-02, McKee had amassed 601 points in two years.
Then, like the countless number of female basketball players in the country, McKee's story ended.
Or so it seemed.
Unlike male players, only a select few females are chosen to compete at some professional level, either in America or overseas. Many use their education to dictate their lives after college. Most leave their playing careers behind.
But, if they keep their ambition, and they get very lucky, a small number get a second chance.
McKee's second chance came in June.
McKee, like so many other female players, had turned to her education for her career. She was working as a child care coordinator in Houston, TX.
Then, one day, her cell phone rang.
It was the coordinator of the USA Elite Women's Team.
"I had tried out for the team a week before," McKee said. "They didn't call me for about a week, and I was really nervous. I really didn't know if I had 'it.' I didn't know if I still had what it took."
McKee did. The call was to inform her that she would be going to Austria on September 10 for the start of a six-week tour of Europe.
"I was on pins and needles," she said. "I was constantly checking my e-mail and my cell phone was on all the time. I didn't sleep much because I didn't want to miss any calls, but God has a way of working."
Peggy Davis, who coached McKee when she was at VSU, never doubted that McKee still had the elusive "it."
"Becky was always a very intense player," Davis, who is now
Athletic Director at Virginia State, said. "She was intense, and
always around the basketball on both offense and defense."
McKee flew in from Houston in September to inform Davis in person that she was on her way to Austria.
"I had some really good times here at Virginia State," McKee said. "I learned about a lot more than just basketball. As strict as a coach that Peggy Davis was, she also taught us how to behave as women as well as players. She instilled that championship drive in us. She really knew what she was talking about."
"It says a lot for the program that a former student-athlete
would come back and let us know how they're continuing to strive to
achieve their goals," Davis said. "I always say and have always
said that it's about more than just basketball. It's about the rest
of your lives."
Now McKee's constant companion has become a copy of Fodor's Austria.
"I'm trying to learn German," McKee said. "That book's become my best friend."
This will be McKee's first trip overseas, and her goal is to bring back a gold medal.
"It's the same feeling that I had in 2002 (when the Lady Trojans won the CIAA Tournament)," she said. "It was our time. Even though we had won the division, no one on our team was All-CIAA or anything, so we had something to prove.
"Now I have something else to prove. It just shows that if you keep God first and work hard, you can accomplish anything."
It also shows that dreams don't die when ambition lives.