The Courtside Collective caught up with Séamus Hickey (LYIT) who is currently playing Prep ball in the states for an update on how things are going. The 6”4 guard from Letterkenny is playing in the NEPSAC AA for The Master’s School in Connecticut.
TCC: Tell us about the school you are attending and the level of basketball you are playing ?
Séamus: I am attending The Master’s School, in Connecticut, we play in NEPSAC AA which is a really competitive league, it’s the second best prep league in America. Every team we played against had their fair share of D1 recruits, schools like Tilton, Putnam Science and Wilbraham and Munson Academy had rosters full of future D1 players. So the level of basketball was great.
The Master’s School is a small mixed Christian school in West Simsbury CT. It’s got a really nice campus and even though it’s a small enough place we have some great facilities. We have basketball courts, a weight-room, trainer’s room, meeting rooms where we review tape, and then we have two soccer pitches, a baseball field, and a lacrosse field. It is not a boarding school, so the school organised a host family for me to stay with who have been great.
TCC: How did the opportunity to play Prep Ball arise for you?
Séamus: Two summers ago, I was doing a busboy programme at HoopGroup for four weeks basketball Camp in Pensylvania, and went to an Academic All American showcase in Chicago run by JoyOfTheGame for a week. I competed really well at both, but the coaches at both advised me to try and go to prep school so college coaches get a better opportunity to see me play more against American competition. So I was given a list of schools to contact, and the coach at Masters really liked me and we started working straight away on me coming to his school.
TCC: What was your first impression of the level of ball stateside?
Séamus: When I first got here I was excited, I seen it as a chance to compete at a really high level. Our school would hold open runs and alumni of the school would come down to play and they were usually all ex D1 or D2 players. Our team this year was made up of six new recruits and a couple of returning players.
Preseason at Masters was good, it was a mix between lifting and running, but it ends with what is known as “Hell Week.” So we’re in the gym ready to play and our workouts for that week of training was definitely the hardest I’ve ever done. We basically just did a mix of “Insanity” and thirty court sprints for a week, with some defensive slides thrown in there too. It was tough but it definitely helped us get ready for the season. We had practice every day for around two hours and by mid-season we were playing two games a week which kept our schedule busy for the season.
TCC: Speaking to your family, I understand you’re also playing football (soccer). How did this come about? How has it been going for you?
Séamus: Yeah that was part of my deal, to play a second sport in the fall season because basketball is a winter sport, and they wanted me to play soccer. A lot of prep schools who bring in international recruits make them play two sports, we had a recruit from London and one from Nigeria this year that both had the same deal as me and played soccer. Soccer was actually a great way to meet people out here and a way to keep your cardio up before preseason. I ended up starting and played as a stopper, so I basically just had to clear the ball and hit people, which was pretty fun. It’s definitely a good way to integrate to the school as well.
TCC: How did the season end up?
Séamus: We had a lot of hype for the season a bunch of new recruits on top of the returning starters, we definitely felt like we could compete with anybody. But it was always going to be a tough start with so many new players learning a new system was going to be tough and a lot of people got injured at the start of the season which didn’t help. But even still, we knew we were going to be able to compete with everyone in our league. We ended up 12-16, it was tough because we lost a couple games on the buzzer and came out the wrong side of a couple close games. It was great though to be able to play against that kind of competition a couple times a week.
Séamu iss hoping that more players from the North West and Ulster can get the opportunity to come out to the States. He feels there is a lot of undiscovered talent there. Séamus feels the regions don’t always get the recognition they deserve for being such competitive leagues to play in from underage to men’s leagues. Séamus believes Clubs all over the North West and Ulster are producing some quality players that definitely have the potential to play at a very high level and he’d love to see more players make the trip stateside.
The Courtside Collective would like to thank Séamus for taking the time to talk to us and wish him all the best in the future.