McGonagill ’14 nabs Ivy rookie of the year

Sports Staff Writer
Friday, March 11, 2011

Sean McGonagill ’14 does not look like a first-year when he is on the basketball court. He ran Brown’s offense this season as if he had done it for years, with a calm confidence uncommon even among upperclassmen.  

“I don’t think that’s something you gauge — you either have it or you don’t,” said Head Coach Jesse Agel.

Apparently coaches around the Ivy League agree. They named McGonagill Ivy League rookie of the year this week.

McGonagill was the team’s leading scorer in Ivy League play, averaging 14.6 points a game, good for fourth in the conference. He set a Brown first-year record with 147 assists, third all-time among Brown players and third in the conference this season. Despite needing 20 stitches in the middle of league play after diving for a loose ball in practice and colliding with a teammate’s knee, McGonagill averaged the most minutes on the team and was the only Bear to start all 28 games.

“It makes our job as coaches a lot easier because he is like a coach on the floor,” Assistant Coach T.J. Sorrentine said earlier this season. “He is just always trying to make the right play. I don’t think we’ll need to say a word to him for the next three years because he’s going through it all as a freshman this year.”

McGonagill came to Brown in the hopes of earning playing time right away. Last season, the Bears were forced to use Matt Sullivan ’13, a natural shooting guard, to fill a void at the point guard position.

“The big thing I looked at in my decision was being able to play as a freshman,” McGonagill said. “I considered Brown strongly because they needed a point guard, and it was a good opportunity where I could come in and contribute right away.”

Agel said he knew before McGonagill set foot on campus that he would see plenty of floor time as a first-year. “I watched him play all throughout summer, and he took a tremendous amount of responsibility for his team’s success,” Agel said. “When it came down to it and he had to make the big play, the right pass or the right shot, he just kept doing it. He left no doubt in my mind that he could come right in and make an immediate impact.”

Agel often draws comparisons between McGonagill and Sorrentine, a player Agel recruited during his time at Vermont and who went on to earn America East rookie of the year and player of the year honors, as well as an All-American honorable mention after his rookie season.

“The first thing I saw was a kid who is incredibly focused on becoming a very good basketball player,” Agel said. “He sent an immediate flashback to when I was recruiting a young high school kid named T.J. Sorrentine. It was a tremendous comparison in terms of the work ethic.”

Another Bear honored this week was Tucker Halpern ’13, who earned honorable mention on the All-Ivy team. Halpern was the team’s second-leading scorer in league play, averaging 12.6 points per game.

“He just has a world of talent,” Agel said. “If you see how much he’s improved from year one to year two, we’ve really got something there. The sky’s the limit for him.”

Looking ahead, with McGonagill and Halpern at the helm, the Bears are optimistic about their chances and are already preparing for next season.

“We’re looking forward to a big year,” McGonagill said. “We really want guys to be ready when the time comes. It’s only eight months away, and if we go at it strong during the offseason, we’ll be ready at the start.”


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