Some say facing challenges builds character and perseverance. Adrick McKinney will tell anyone he is living proof that those words are true.
The 6'8" forward just completed his senior season at TCU, but despite all he has done as a basketball player, it is his journey off the court that is truly inspiring.
McKinney grew up on the north side of Fort Worth as the oldest of four brothers and two sisters. He said times were hard for his family as they struggled financially in a rough neighborhood.
"[One of the hardest things was] when it was cold, [we had] no heat. Or when it was cold, no hot water," McKinney said. "We had to boil water and then put it in the bath tub. We boiled it in a Crock-Pot and then put it in the bathtub. I'd take a bath, then my brother would go."
Still, McKinney said his parents did the best they could under the circumstances. He spent a lot of his time at the Boys and Girls Club where he developed his love for basketball. It was his parents who instilled values in him and kept him out of trouble when it would have been easy to make bad choices.
"We had a high crime rate," he said. "My friends would knock on the door, 'Can Adrick come outside?' [My parents] would say 'No, you can't go outside.' But I never understood it because I was young. You're like 'All my friends are outside, why can't I go outside?' But there was a lot of activity going on outside. Drugs and a lot of stuff. Now I look back on it, and half the dudes who wanted me to go outside are either in jail or not doing anything."
McKinney's parents divorced in 2004 but remained close and still did their best to give him the best possible opportunities. McKinney said he bounced between three different high schools, finally landing at Trimble Tech, which is about 15 minutes from TCU.
It was there that he met Angelina College head coach Todd Neighbors. Neighbors recruited McKinney along with many Division I schools, but when other schools backed out because of academic issues, Neighbors would not give up.
He took McKinney to Angelina College in Lufkin, Texas, where McKinney spent the first two years of his college career.
"One of the things we preach to all of our guys and to Adrick was being a better person, a better player and a better student everyday," Neighbors said. "That was our main focus. The other thing was him having a son. That did a lot to motivate him academically."
McKinney said he loves Neighbors and was grateful for the things he did to provide him with a chance.
"He was always there for me," McKinney said. "Even when my son was born, he drove me back down here, so I could see him be born. He has a special place in my heart."
When McKinney was given a chance to sign with TCU, he did not hesitate. He said he could not pass up the chance to be closer to his new son Adrick Jr. and his parents all while playing for a school that, at the time, was headed for the Big East.
"When Adrick first got here, man I hated the guy. I'm not going to lie," senior forward Garlon Green said of his teammate. "I was like 'Who is this big dude?' But I ended up loving him like a brother. It's funny how things work out. He's definitely inspiring. He's a father. He's not only doing it for himself. He's doing it for his family."
McKinney continued to grow both as a person and a player, especially under coach Trent Johnson, whom McKinney said he admires.
McKinney credits his father as being one of the most influential people in his life. His father had to have his leg amputated when McKinney was in elementary school due to an infection.
"I look at him like, he has one leg and he still does all this," McKinney said. "I'm healthy. I have two legs, so why can't I achieve? I've seen him do everything."
McKinney said he hopes that he can make as big of an impact on his son as his father made on him.