Argyle’s Rhyle McKinney (5) celebrates winning a Class 4A regional final against Levelland on Feb. 22 in Lubbock. McKinney on Thursday night committed to play college basketball for SMU.

Rhyle McKinney emerged as one of the state’s most prolific scorers at any level last season while guiding the Argyle girls basketball program to its fifth consecutive state championship.

McKinney’s accolades as a junior included the Texas Girls Coaches Association’s Class 1A-4A player of the year award, and she caught the attention of a host of colleges across Texas and the country. But SMU’s proximity to home gave the program an edge in the recruiting process, and McKinney announced her commitment to the Lady Mustangs on Thursday night via Twitter.

“I chose SMU because I felt when I first got there that it was exactly what I wanted,” McKinney said. “There was so much there that made me feel at home. Being close to home was important, and that is one of the main reasons why I chose this school. I wanted to be close to home, and I’m very happy my friends and family can come watch me.”

McKinney took over as Argyle’s go-to scorer after an ACL injury sidelined Clemson commit Sydney Standifer before the start of last season, and McKinney shined despite often facing double teams throughout the year. She averaged 23.9 points, 2.2 assists and 2.9 steals, earning District 8-4A MVP honors.

McKinney was the Region I all-tournament MVP, the 4A state tournament MVP and a consensus all-state selection.

Argyle coach Chance Westmoreland said McKinney’s skill set will give her a chance to contribute immediately at SMU, where she’ll join a team coached by Travis Mays. Mays was the associate head coach at Texas for four years before taking over at SMU in 2016.

“I think her game translates extremely well,” Westmoreland said. “She can play all three guard positions, and she’s really a prolific scorer. She’s also a very good defender, and that will help her at the college level.”

Westmoreland added that he was excited McKinney would remain in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, giving him an opportunity to see her games in person.

“It will be great,” Westmoreland said. “As a high school coach, it’s pretty exciting to be able to go watch your players play. It’s nice when they’re that close, and I like for the kids to be able to come back to the high school. Rhyle has been such a big part of this program and she will continue to be, so it’s going to be nice.

Before getting to SMU, McKinney will have a strong chance to lead the Lady Eagles to a sixth consecutive state title. Argyle returns the vast majority of its key contributors from last year’s team and will have Standifer back in the mix to work with McKinney and Brooklyn Carl in the backcourt.

McKinney, Standifer and Carl all started on Argyle’s 2017-18 state championship team, giving Westmoreland and the Lady Eagles plenty of experience and talent to work with next season.

“I’m super excited to have this decision out of the way and I’m even more excited for my senior year,” McKinney said. “I’m ready to get our team going and hopefully make a good run just like we did last year.”

BRADY KEANE can be reached at 940-566-6869 and via Twitter at @BradyKeane.

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