But by the second half of his first season, McKey was starting. Against Arizona in the NCAA tournament that year he so intimidated the Wildcats that he was named Player of the Game, even though he had not scored a point. Last season, as a sophomore, improving game by game, he led the SEC in blocked shots (76) and field goal percentage (.636). That's going from question mark to exclamation point.
"He's a high pro prospect, one of the best players in the country," says Georgia Tech coach Bobby Cremins, an assistant at the Worlds. "I didn't have any idea how good he was."
Says McKey, "I knew I could play all along." He's even increased his bench press to 100 pounds; with the huge quantities of food supplements he takes, he should resemble Arnold Schwarzenegger by, oh, 2036.
About all the fuss, McKey is typically nonchalant. Last summer, after he had seen "Par-ee" during his trip with the U.S. national team, he couldn't wait to get back down on the farm. The topless beaches of Spain had all but melted his mirrored sunglasses, but aside from that, no big deal. The Eiffel Tower, he said, was "just another tower." The museums were only filled with old stuff. The Rock of Gibraltar wasn't so hot. Nope, the European sights he really enjoyed were familiar landmarks: the golden arches. Says the placid one, "We ate in McDonald's every chance we had." That figures. Big-MOC Derrick is the McKey to the SEC.