Anyone who has followed the Arizona State basketball program with any amount of fervor over the past two seasons is probably somewhat familiar with the story of senior forward Shaquielle McKissic.
He was born in Indiana, moved out to Seattle, Washington in his teenage years and his family fell on some rough times. McKissic was homeless at one point, sleeping in a car, and also spent a few months in jail for burglary. On top of that, one of his best friends at Kentridge High School, Devin Topps, was murdered on Oct. 31, 2010.
McKissic got his life back in order, was accepted to and started playing basketball at Edmonds Community College before he was recruited to come play at Arizona State. He averaged nine points and 5.4 rebounds per game for the Sun Devils last season.
Now, on the four-year anniversary of Topps' death on Oct. 31, 2014, McKissic is releasing a tell-all documentary entitled #SM40 about his own journey up to this point in his life.
"I always knew ever since I signed here, even at JUCO, that I wanted to shoot a documentary," McKissic said. "I told him (McKissic's brother David) and he just kind of took the idea and ran with it."
#SM40 was shot over two days in Indianapolis, Indiana this past summer.
"It was 14-hour days and we just got it in and it turned out really well," McKissic said. "It's just different way to reach kids, to let them know that life is about second chances."
McKissic leaves no stone unturned about his past in the documentary, telling the audience every minute detail about moving out to Washington, the day he was arrested for burglary, all the way up through his recruitment process and finding out he got an extra year of eligibility at Arizona State.
"We were kind of bouncing ideas-my brother is a real creative guy as well as me and the producer," McKissic said. "So with all three of us bouncing ideas off each other it was bound to turn out well."
The overarching theme throughout #SM40, however, is Topps' memory. McKissic turns incredibly emotional as he tells the camera about that Halloween night in 2010. He still chokes up talking about Topps to this day.
"All I can do is work hard and hope for the best," McKissic said. "As far as Devin goes, I miss him. But everyday is motivation to work hard for him."
The documentary includes well-produced, high-quality cut scenes showing off McKissic's basketball abilities and athleticism as well as McKissic and his family members talking about his past, present and future.
As far as McKissic's own goals for the documentary?
"I just want as many people to see it as possible," McKissic said. "I want to change as many lives as I can and just give people hope."
The documentary will be released on JustVisualsMedia.com, Vimeo, and YouTube. The director of #SM40 is Mihkail Cooper. McKissic's brother, David, is the creative director of the documentary.
Without further delay, we give you: A clip from #SM40
Here is the full poster for the documentary: