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Cardinal O'Hara's Pearse McGuinn quickly finds out Stonehill is right place for him

08/10/2023, 1:00pm EDT
By Owen McCue

Owen McCue (@Owen_McCue)

When Pearse McGuinn received a text from Stonehill College in mid-July, he didn’t know much — or really anything at all — about the private Roman Catholic liberal arts college in Easton, Mass., which just finished its first season transitioning to Division I.

“I really hadn’t heard of them before when they first texted me,” McGuinn said. “I did some research on them and they told me they were coming out to Spooky Nook, and I was like, ‘Huh, kind of interesting.’”

A few short weeks later, McGuinn decided he wanted to spend his college career at Stonehill.

McGuinn sat down with his family on Tuesday and called Syhawks’ coach Chris Kraus to let him know the news. He announced his commitment on social media Wednesday, becoming the first recruit of the Skyhawks’ 2024 class.

Cardinal O'Hara 2024 wing/forward Pearse McGuinn, left, announced his commitment to Stonehill College on Wednesday. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)

“I think it’s just that they really want me, you know,” the 6-foot-7 wing/forward said. “I was talking to other colleges and they’d show interest in me, but nothing like Stonehill. Stonehill was like, ‘We really want you here. You really fit with our offense and our program.' The school and everything was just great, so when I knew I wanted to go there, and I knew it was a fit I didn’t waste any time committing.”

The Stonehill staff watched McGuinn play during the July live periods, first reaching out after he played with K-Low Elite at the Adidas 3SSB Championships at Rock Hill, S.C. They came and watched him at the Summer Finale at Spooky Nook the next weekend and soon set up a visit to get McGuinn on campus.

McGuinn had another offer from NJIT and said Navy and Holy Cross of the Patriot League were the other two programs showing the most interest. He mentioned Ivys Brown and Dartmouth as two other programs that were reaching out.

He loved Stonehill’s campus and the academic makeup of the school, and basketball-wise the program was a great fit as well. He’s the third local prospect in three years to choose Easton, Mass. as their college home, following Hill School’s Ethan Meuser and Westtown’s Se’yphon Triplett.

“I learned that they were a bunch of very non-selfish players on offense,” McGuinn said. “I saw in their videos too that they showed me, they always try to get the best shot. They’re not very selfish as a team and I think that fits me perfectly. And I also learned that they have great academics too, and that’s one of my priorities as well.”

McGuinn averaged 12.4 ppg, 6.0 rpg and 2.5 bpg for O’Hara last season, shooting 59.9 percent from the field and 36.7 percent from deep (18-for-49).

Kraus and his staff see McGuinn fitting in at the ‘3’ or as a stretch ‘4’ at the next level as someone they can run offense through in the post or step outside and knockdown shots.

“They said my versatility, just my height and my ability to shoot and post up (is what stuck out),” McGuinn said. “They said that would work into their offense really well, and they showed me that with a series of videos.”

McGuinn’s grandfather played at Duke University, but he comes from a family of rowers. His father Dan McGuinn was on the crew team at Temple and his uncles all rowed in high school. His sister, Bridget was the Catholic League volleyball MVP before eventually rowing at La Salle.

Before he got to high school, McGuinn said he was just a kid who was kind of a tall kid who played hoops every winter but didn’t touch a ball much the rest of the year. He shot up about five inches from 6-foot-1 to 6-foot-6 during his freshman year at O’Hara and when things started to click physically,  former O’Hara coach Ryan Nemetz made sure to let him know he had a few future in basketball if he wanted it.

“Coach Nemetz, told me you can actually go to college and play. Do you want to play?’,” McGuinn remembers. “I was like, ‘Yeah,’ so he pushed me and helped me get a lot better and then he helped me find an AAU team, which was K-Low, and then from there I just kept getting better and better. And then by the time I had all these schools talking to me, it kind of opened my eyes, like this changed my life.”

McGuinn said coaches like Nemetz and K-Low Elite’s Chirs Harris and Pat Fleury have helped bring the best out of him over the last few seasons. 

He realized things had changed during his sophomore year when he reunited for a pick-up game with some of his grade school buddies. 

“They were like, ‘This isn’t fair,’ so that’s kind of when I realized I’m getting better and my work is paying off,” McGuinn said. 

McGuinn and his family have a vacation planned in August, but after that he’s ready to get back in the gym and weight room with O’Hara teammate Aasim “Flash” Burton as they prepare to lead the Lions in the Catholic League next season under new head coach Fran O'Hanlon. O'Hara went 18-8 (8-5 PCL) and reached the PCL quarterfinals and the state second round in 2022-23.

He’ll have to wait for the postseason when he gets to Stonehill as the Skyhawks won’t complete their D1 transition and be NCAA Tournament eligible until 2026-27. Like many, his goal is to get there before his career is over, and hopefully help make sure Stonehill is a program everyone knows by the time he leaves.

“It’s very exciting because not many people know of it. I was telling people I committed and they were like, ‘Where is that?’,” McGuinn said. “I hope they find out because that’s my goal. I want to make them more well known.”

“I think my junior year, that’s the first year they’ll be able to go to the tournament, but that’s my goal. I want to go there.”

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