Monday, October 5, 2015

Yorktown's O'Loughlin Growing Figuratively And Literally

Just two seasons ago, Yorktown's Glenn O'Loughlin was a bit hesitant and rough-and-around the edges in the post.

 The potential was evident in spurts, albeit several facets of his game were in need of fine-tuning for the varsity level.

With a new found love for the game and an immense work ethic, O'Loughlin has undergone a massive transformation.

New Glenn resembles nothing of old Glenn. New Glenn would be hard-pressed to even recognize Old Glenn.

Showcasing a new level of mindful awareness, a refined post game, and feathery jump hook from both hands, O'Loughlin has progressed.

Shooting up to 6-foot-5 has certainly played a role in O'Loughlin's rapid progression.

No player on Kevin Downes' roster will fill the void left by 6-foot-7 center Mason Dyslin, a 2015 graduate now at Vassar. A veritable walking double-double, Dyslin had several 30+ point explosions as a go-to option last season.

Should O'Loughlin continue to better all components of his game, should he sustain this increased off-season appetite, he could potentially lessen the damage Dyslin's loss.

"I've increased at pretty much all elements of my game," said O'Loughlin.

"My leadership role has got to grow along with my skill-set, offensively and defensively. I've just got to be a leader on and off the court this year and help fill Mason's spot."

With a year of varsity experience now under his belt, O'Loughlin said he's grasped the intricacies and valuable tenets of Downes' system.

There's emphasis on speeding up the transition attack, a luxury they have with a heady veteran point guard Nick DeGennaro, now one of Section 1's elite.

 There's a high demand for rebounds and 50-50 balls. Downes also implements a defensive-minded approach, ensuring everyone applies Ziplock-tight defensive pressure from rim-to-rim.

After showing spurts as a junior, O'Loughlin appears well-prepared for the new challenge ahead.

"Glenn's been training three times a week, his mid-range game is almost a given now from 10-12 feet," said NY Pride AAU head coach and trainer Aldo Redendo.

"He's gotten much stronger around the basket. His hops are much better after the operation. He blocks shots, he does all the little things that win a championship. He's got a level of loyalty and coach-ability that's pretty rare to find these days. Glenn is a special kid."

Redendo has groomed a wealth of Westchester area talent, most notably former Kennedy Catholic star Donnie McGrath and legendary 6-foot-10 Peekskill center Hilton Armstrong. McGrath thrived as a heady guard at Providence, prolonging his career professionally in Europe.

Armstrong won a national championship under Jim Calhoun at UCONN, prior to a seven-year NBA career.

Few, as Redendo noted, have been as quickly adaptive as O'Loughlin.

"I took a kid that was nothing two years ago and he's turned himself into a ball player," Redendo said.

"He's come back from a knee injury, having not missed a beat. He's one of the hardest working and loyal kids I've ever coached. Personality-wise, you won't find a better kid to coach.

Now seeking opportunities to prolong his career at the Division-III level, O'Loughlin realizes he's on a race against time. As a late-blooming senior, O'Loughlin must put up impressive numbers steadily this year. The goal is to garner the notice of a high-level D-III program where he could contribute as a swingman or power forward.

O'Loughlin has reaped the rewards of playing with both DeGennaro and Brandon Redendo, a cerebral guard with a knack for accelerating the transition game.

Given DeGennaro and Redendo's mindful awareness with the ball, O'Loughlin has gotten the ball in the right spots and converted high-percentage buckets with ease this past summer.

 Like Dyslin, O'Loughlin has the chance to pose a major issue with his size and floor-spreading ability.

"He shoots the ball well and can stretch the floor, he has a solid post game and is very skilled," said Downes of O'Loughlin. "He has the ability to use the jump hook with both hands which gives him an advantage in the post."

With Downes, the former Westchester County Coach of the Year, O'Loughlin knows what is at stake.

"The goals are always to win the league, to see if we can win the Section championship and go from there," O'Loughlin said. "Coach preaches accountability. He tells us to be smart, be the best basketball player you can be. If your not ready to play with intensity by the second the ball drops, then get off the court."

O'Loughlin said playing against higher-level competition on the AAU circuit helped persuade him to pursue basketball in college.

"On the NY Pride, we played the New England Playaz in the Providence Jamfest and I remember that game because they were 6-foot-7 across the lineup," O'Loughlin recollected.

"Despite being vastly undersized, undermanned, and thin upfront, the Pride played eyeball to eyeball with the perennially potent Playaz until the final seven minutes.

"They were just giant, athletic guys. Nobody thought we had a chance but we only lost by four or five and we looked good all the way through. I rebounded, I did my job. Brandon was knocking down shots. Everyone was getting going. We almost beat a team everyone thought we couldn't compete with."

O'Loughlin must embrace the role of interior banger in 2015-16.

"We will need him to rebound for us which he did well last year," Downes explained.

"Only expect that to improve and with losing Mason to graduation we will certainly look for him to provide some scoring for us. I don't think he needs to try and replace Mason's scoring productivity but he will need to score and I am confident he will do that given more touches and more time on the floor. I expect Glenn to have a big year."