Michael O’Connell has played basketball on Long Island since he took his first step as a toddler! He went on to have great careers at St. Aidan CYO, Rising Stars AAU , Chaminade and Blair Academy. His skills were exceptional and he was considered by most to be the most talented player to come out of Long Island in several years.
There was one main issue that impacted his college basketball career and that being that he was one of the top lacrosse players in the country. Maryland recognized this fact and offered Michael a full athletic scholarship early in his high school career at Chaminade. He signed a National Letter of Intent to play lacrosse at Maryland. Michael loved both sports but realized that lacrosse offered him the opportunity to play college sports at the highest level. That very rational decision still did not diminish his love for basketball. Michael was one of the top players at one of the most prestigious prep schools in the country. College coaches took notice and let Michael know of their continued interest should he change his mind. Then the Coronavirus hit and changed the way we all live and that included the college lacrosse season being canceled. Graduating seniors were granted one more season. Incoming freshman were placed in a tough spot as there would be no openings and their careers would be delayed. Michael saw this as a sign or opportunity to pursue basketball. Maryland released him from his commitment and the basketball coaches swarmed. There were several tremendous offers but Michael was not only a great athlete but also a outstanding student. Stanford was offering a full scholarship and the decision was relatively easy. Michael will be playing in the Pac 10 for one of the most prestigious universities in the country. That is quite an accomplishment.
Michael’s family are outstanding people. They give much of the credit to his high school coach at Chaminade, Bob Paul, for the tremendous support and guidance he provided through the years. It is also important to ackknowledge the Rising Stars AAU program with whom this terrific young man played for many years.
We here at Island Garden, NY AAU and all of Long Island Basketball are all so proud of Michael while also congratulating him and his family for this tremendous accomplishment. Now on to the next stage of playing high major college basketball!