Blair Academy’s Michael O’Connell is a special student-athlete and Division I Standford University Men’s Basketball thinks so, too, as he committed to the college yesterday, Blair Academy (NJ) hoops head coach Joe Mantegna Tweeted.
O’Connell, a senior who played his last season of hoops with the Buccaneers, had originally verbally committed as a freshman with Maryland to suit up for its powerhouse college lacrosse program.
But O’Connell said he de-committed from the Terps lacrosse squad because the team will feature many returning seniors next season due to the NCAA canceling spring sports and extending eligibility a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, limiting his playing time.
Plus, the New York native will get the opportunity to receive a great education from a top institution, and play for Jerod Haase, with the hopes of winning a Pac 12 basketball title, according to rivals.com.
“The more I got to know Michael and his family, the more excited I became,” said Haase, the Anne and Tony Joseph Director of Men’s Basketball, on GoStanford.com. “He is invested, tough, and selfless. He is a winner, and will immediately come in and improve our program.”
O’Connell, who transferred from Chaminade High Scholl on Long Island, picked Stanford over other highly acclaimed colleges, including Ivy League Brown, Columbia, and Dartmouth, as well as Lafayette, Marist, Niagara, UC-Santa Barbara, and UMBC.
The 6-foot-2 point, 175-pound point guard nearly averaged 18 points, seven boards, and two steals per contest last year with Blair Academy.
The Cardinals posted a 20-12 record and went 9-9 in conference action in the 2019-20 campaign.
— Jerry Del Priore