« Men’s Basketball 2018-19

Drew McDonald

Northern Kentucky University


Drew McDonald is a two-time Horizon League All-Academic Team honoree and has been named to the Horizon League Honor Roll four-straight semesters, collecting both accolades every time since becoming eligible to receive them. He was also named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Honors Court and has been named to the NKU Dean’s List twice. Majoring in marketing, McDonald holds a 3.37 GPA.


McDonald’s leadership took center stage early in his career as a sophomore when he guided Northern Kentucky to its first-ever Division I NCAA Tournament in just its first year eligible. However, his leadership, determination and humility on the court is not what sets him apart. It’s what he does off the court.

Following a trip to Brazil this summer to represent Team USA in the FISU Americas, where the United States brought home gold, two local television broadcasters requested an interview with McDonald. Upon showing up for the interview, McDonald realized the stool typically used for the video interviews was not in the room. Without hesitation, he simply said, “I’ve got it,” left and brought the stool in moments later. While this was a simple act of kindness, it is indicative of McDonald’s humility and helpfulness that is always on display.

He is also a two-time team captain for the Norse men’s basketball team.


McDonald is a local product, growing up minutes from NKU’s campus, and he is committed to investing in the Northern Kentucky/Greater Cincinnati Region. McDonald regularly visits his elementary school, serving as a mentor and role model to the students. In addition to the efforts at his elementary school, he has volunteered at the Ronald McDonald House, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, Henry Hosea House and with several other local events as well.

This pattern of serving his community isn’t limited to traditional outreach initiatives. Following home games, McDonald is often requested to join the postgame press conference, requiring him to walk through a portion of the arena often inundated with fans. Typically, a throng of local youth shout requests for autographs. McDonald always politely asks them to wait for a few minutes while he conducts his postgame interviews. Without fail, he always heads back courtside to sign autographs and chat with NKU’s younger fans.

This sense of support is also on full display within Norse Athletics. Over the last few years, McDonald has assumed a leadership role within NKU’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, serving as one of four members of the leadership team. As chair of the special events committee, McDonald is working to bring Norse student-athletes closer to one another by organizing special events such as kickball tournaments and The Victors, NKU’s end-of-the-year celebration for its student-athletes. He is so committed to his fellow student-athletes that this year he has been shagging balls at Norse volleyball games.


On the court, McDonald has been nothing short of sensational for Northern Kentucky. Entering his senior season, his list of accolades includes a Lou Henson (mid-major) All-America nod, as well as two All-Horizon League First Team honors (2017, 2018) and back-to-back Horizon League Preseason Player of the Year honors. McDonald is also one of 20 players named a candidate for this year’s Karl Malone Award, presented by the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame to the nation’s top power forward.

McDonald has been the on-court catalyst ushering in the Division-I era of Norse Athletics. As a sophomore, he averaged 16.4 points and 7.7 rebounds per game while leading Northern Kentucky to the 2017 Horizon League Tournament Championship—earning all-tournament status in the process—and subsequent NCAA Tournament appearance in the program’s first season with active DI membership. Northern Kentucky became just the seventh team all-time, only the second since 1970, to earn a berth in the NCAA Tournament in its first season eligible.

McDonald then led NKU to the 2018 Horizon League regular-season title and an appearance in the NIT averaging 17.0 points and 9.6 rebounds per game. His 18 double-doubles ranked 11th in the nation.

In just three years, the 6-foot-8 power forward has amassed 1,431 points and 762 career rebounds. He is already Northern Kentucky’s career leader in defensive rebounds with 565.

*All stats as of nomination time.