O'Brien Lands at Brock
Bernie Puchalski - May 11th, 2020
With her high school and travel career concluded, Maddie O’Brien is looking to take the next step in her basketball career.
“Basketball has always been a big part of my life for a long time now so it would be really cool to play at the next level,” the 17-year-old Beamsville resident said. “It is also a way for me to stay fit because I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes last August.”
She has also battled through back and concussion issues but never once thought to stop playing.
“It is just a lot of fun, you get to play with friends and it is a good way to escape the realities of today,” said O’Brien, who won a Basketball Ontario Division 1 title with the Niagara Rangers when she was in Grade 8.
The Grade 12 student at Blessed Trinity is hoping the next stop in her hoops career will be at Brock University. She verbally committed to the school a few ago and will be trying to crack the roster of the national silver medalists this fall.
“Maddie is a very athletic and fast basketball player. She defends with a lot of length that will make it difficult for most opposing players to score,” Brock head coach Mike Rao said. “Maddie is very aggressive and moves well defensively. Her challenge will be to meet the physicality of the opposition. Brock is again excited to add another local talent into the mix.”
O’Brien is excited for the chance to play for Rao.
“I had the opportunity to go to a practice with other girls who were thinking of going to Brock and I loved the drills that he did,” the 5-foot-8 guard said. “He seemed like a super nice guy and it will be fun to play for him.”
Rao wasn’t the only reason O’Brien has decided to go to Brock.
“I am going for kin (kinesiology) and they have a good program. And it is nice and close to home which means I get to stay close to my parents and everything.”
She’s not sure what exactly what she wants to do for a career but is thinking about the field of physical therapy.
Her goals at Brock are to make the team and go from there.
“I think my communication needs to get better. I am very quiet,” she said. “I also need to work on my ball handling and my shooting could get better because our year got cut short and I was just figuring things out with the diabetes.”
The Niagara Juel player feels she has a number of attributes that could be of benefit to Brock, in addition to her size and quickness.
“I also think that I see the floor well,” she said.
Like everyone dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, O’Brien has been trying to stay busy.
“It’s crazy but I am trying to stay on top of school and my workouts,” she said.
She has been lifting weights in her basement, going for runs, climbing stairs up the Niagara Escarpment and shooting hoops in her driveway.
“I’ve been trying to get out and play but it has been kind of cold,” O’Brien said with a laugh.