For incoming freshmen, the transition to college can be difficult. For student athletes, it can be hard to balance their new lives with the commitments they must uphold to their team. It can be even harder for a freshman to start on the team, as the athlete is burdened with even greater responsibility. Sean McGonagill '14 has not only earned a starting spot on the men's basketball team, but has become a major part of the team's early success.
The first-year point guard from Brookfield, Ill., has taken the transition to college in stride, and through the first five games has averaged 9.4 points, 4.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists. He was named the Ivy League rookie of the week after helping the team open its season at 2-1, the best start to a season in 10 years, and the team now stands at 3-2.
"He's the most humble kid," said Head Coach Jesse Agel last month. "So for a kid to come in and play that many minutes right out of the gate, there's no jealousy. All he cares about is winning and doing the right thing, and if something doesn't go right he takes responsibility for everyone else."
For his strong performance on the court in his first year as a Bear, McGonagill has been named the Herald athlete of the week.
Herald: What has been the hardest part of the transition from high school basketball to college?
McGonagill: The guys are a lot bigger in college. I'm really small, so the size of guys has been a big difference.
What has been the biggest difference off the court?
Off the court, it's managing your time. Being able to get the extra time to get into the gym and also getting into the weight room is really important.
What has been the best advice that you have received?
The best advice is just to keep your composure. Everyone has their rough days, tough practices, but just move on to the next point. Have a short memory, but keep everything in mind and make sure you are correcting your mistakes.
How hard is it coming in as a point guard and having to lead the team?
It's a game that I've been playing my entire life, so I don't see it as a hard thing. It's just something I need to step in and do, and I knew I wanted to play right off the bat.
I have to accomplish my goals and work hard, but I've been working hard my entire life. It's not anything too new, but it's a different environment.
What made you choose Brown?
I love this school. Coach Agel and Coach (T.J.) Sorrentine were great recruiting with me, so just going to see the campus and getting the level of education I get along with the basketball helped it a lot. Academics along with athletics were big to me.
What are your predictions for the season?
As of right now, we look like we're doing real well. We started off really strong at 3-1, but we are disappointed about the last loss and, looking ahead, we're just trying to keep our record up.
What would you say is the best part of your game?
The way I distribute the ball to the guys and run the floor. I feel like, with the team we have, they run the floor really well and knock down shots, so as long as I can run the floor and get them the ball I will get a few assists.
Has there been any point in the season where you have been scared?
Before my first game, I was a little nervous. But I called my dad and he gave me a quick talk and was like, "You are playing in front of no one that you know. You are on the road. There is absolutely no one you know, so just play your game that you've played your entire life. There's no reason to be scared."
Who is your basketball role model?
It's always been my dad. I've grown up playing basketball with my dad, and he taught me since I was 3 years old how to dribble a ball and everything I know.
What are your plans for winter break?
Basketball. A lot of basketball and a lot of traveling, so just seeing my family is a big thing. I've always been close to my family, so being able to see my family for the first time over Christmas break will be nice.