The Recruiting Guy:

For UA commitment, strength an asset

By: Richard Davenport
Published: Sunday, December 16, 2018
Destinee McGhee is committed to Arkansas' recruiting class of 2020.
Photo by Twitter @DeeMcGhee_20
Destinee McGhee is committed to Arkansas' recruiting class of 2020.

Destinee McGhee, who has committed to sign with the University of Arkansas women's basketball team for the 2020 class, is not only one of the nation's most gifted post players, but also one of the strongest female athletes.

McGhee, 6-2, of Madison (Ala.) Academy, picked the Razorbacks over scholarship offers from Arizona and North Carolina State on Nov. 10.

While what she's accomplished on the court has her ranked as ESPN's No. 7 post player and No. 60 overall prospect for the 2020 class, her brute strength might be even more impressive.

On Dec. 11, McGhee tweeted a video of herself dead lifting 455 pounds. It received numerous replies marveling at the feat, including one that said, "Beastmode."

"It didn't really feel that heavy," McGhee said. "I mean it was heavy, but I feel like I could've done more. But I'm in season, so I didn't want to hurt myself."

The video had more than 16,000 views by Saturday. McGhee dead lifted 315 pounds as a freshman, but didn't attempt the lift as a sophomore because of an injury.

"I went up to 405, but my strength coach said, 'Oh no, that was too easy.' So we added more weight to 455." McGhee said.

McGhee, who averaged 18 points and 10 rebounds per game to lead Madison Academy to Alabama's Class 4A state championship as a freshman, said she didn't quite understand how unusual her strength was until the seventh grade.

"It was my first year of lifting," McGhee said. "I used to lift more than most of the girls on my team. That showed I had strength that I didn't know I had before."

McGHee's style of play reminds many of a player Arkansas Coach Mike Neighbors had at Washington. Forward-center Chantel Osahor was a second-team All-American as a senior and ended her career as Washington's all-time leading rebounder while playing under Neighbors.

McGhee shared the video with Neighbors, who then sent it to Arkansas strength coach Todd Barbour.

"He sent it to the strength coach and he's excited for me to get over there," McGhee said.

The Arkansas women's basketball record for the dead lift is 420 pounds by redshirt sophomore and Florida State transfer A'Tyanna Gaulden.

McGhee's strength aids her on the hardwood.

"It really helps being a post player because it requires a lot of strength," she said. "You have to be strong and aggressive down there."

Weight lifting is a common practice for McGhee and her team.

"We work out about three days a week," McGhee said. "We work out every day during the summer, so it paid off."

According to, the record for the dead lift at the high school national championships is 468.25 pounds by China Storks of Lutcher, La., in April 2013.

The video of McGhee lifting the 455 pounds shows her straining, but not struggling to lift the weight. She said she is confident she can go beyond it.

"I think I could do 30 pounds more," McGhee said.

Email Richard Davenport at

Sports on 12/16/2018


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