MEGAN McGUINNESS IS COMING HOME!

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Megan McGuinness has turned into a thing of BEAUTY

To say I love MEGAN McGUINNESS would be a insult to everything she represents as a basketball player, student, friend, daughter and sister. There has been no words to describe who and what Megan McGuinness is all about. My respect for her work ethic, her energy, her mental toughness and ability to rise above disappointment is something I can’t explain to you. I wouldn’t insult her by trying. What I can tell you is this, I have been a college coach for 25 years. I have had the pleasure of coaching some kids who have gone on to play in the NBA. I’ve coached kids who would run though a wall for me. I also have been lucky enough to train some very talented players over the years. They have all been special in my mind, because they all had one thing in common… a true love for the game. But Megan McGuinness has been like no player I have ever been around, no player has ever earned my respect and admiration more!

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Niagara and Megan have been a perfect fit

It was a Sunday morning and  the Asbury Press was announcing there All Shore Team. Megan McGuinness was just a junior and she was hoping to named to the team. She hoped to be first team, I’m sure. But I knew who was first team ALL Shore long before Sunday, because the girls had taken the pictures earlier in the week. I had known Megan would have to settle for 2nd team, I knew she would be disappointed but I figured she would use it as motivation. But when I opened the paper Megan was not on 2nd team and in fact she was not on 3rd team. I knew Megan McGuinness would be deeply hurt by this. So I called her and she picked up the phone. When I started talking I noticed she was not responding to me, so I asked her if she was OK? Next thing I know her mother Mora was speaking and she said “Tiny I’m sorry but she couldn’t talk” it was then I realized how important the game of basketball was to Megan McGuinness. It also reminded me that life is not always fair and Megan McGuinness was going to have to work a little harder than most to get the respect she deserved.

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Megan McGuinness played with stars…now its she who is the Star!

You see Megan McGuinness spent most of her High School and AAU career playing 2nd fiddle. Her first two years of high school she played 2nd fiddle to Danielle Pankey who was one of the best players in the Shore, Megan got little recognition. She spent her entire career with the Mary Beth Chambers Hawk team. A team were all 10 players received D1 scholarships. This team featured Sam Clark now at Fordham, Jackie Kates the Shore Conference Player of The Year. Missy Repoli the leading scorer of SJV and now at Colgate, it had Sara Olson the leading scorer at Monmouth these days, it had KC Chambers of U-Penn, Arron Zimmerman who was named to the All Patriot Team and Kaite Reilly who averages double digits at Patriot power Lehigh U. This team was stacked and Megan McGuinness was considered talented but didn’t get the respect of some of the bigger names on the team.  So when she had a Monster junior year she thought all the was behind her before she woke up that Sunday only to realized she was still battling for respect.

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McGuinness’s work Ethic is Legendary

I have NEVER seen a player with the work ethic of Megan McGuinness…EVER. When she is in the gym she goes so hard you often wonder where all this energy is coming from. When you are done working out with her, you feel like you been in a war with progress. She simply is not happy until she has done everything possible to get better. When she was in high school she would shoot with Mary Beth Chambers for hours. One of her mentors Joe Fagen and her spent so much time in the gym I resorted to calling her Megan “Fagen” McGuinness.  Me and Coach Fagen would have long conversations about Megan’s work ethic and talent. He would often tell me Megan was the hardest worker he has ever seen and she could average 30 points a game. Tom Brennan her high school coach at Middletown South, simply would just shake his head at times in amazement. Megan was something none of us had ever seen before

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Megan has spent the last 4 year flexing her muscles at Niagara University

I always respected that Megan McGuinness never cared who was in the gym. She couldn’t care if you were blind, cripple or crazy as long as you wanted to work.  She never cared who was watching, she just wanted to challenge herself to be better every day.  She had a personal battle with herself not others. He commitment to the game is something I’m afraid I will never see again. Her work ethic I know I will never see again in my lifetime. She simply is something that was cut from a cloth that no longer exist.

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No star in McGuinness’s senior class has shined as bright as Megan’s in college

The Summer of her high school senior year, Megan put so much pressure on herself to prove she was one of the best, that it caused her problems in the summer recruiting. During the High School season Megan McGuinness could not miss a shot. She won so many player of the week awards that we should have just name the award after her. Seeing her shoot every day in the gym was a thing of beauty. So when my good friend Bryan Whitten (Mt St. Marys) called me  in the summer to tell me she wasn’t shooting the ball well… I didn’t believe him. When Pam Durkin of Rider who my respect for is about high as it gets, says Megan is struggling then something is wrong, I became real concerned. So I called Beth Chambers and asked how was Megan playing and she said “I don’t get it” she makes those shots in her sleep. The summer proved to be a tough time for Megan and the recruiting would get tougher.

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Megan and her teammates made nation news.. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RrEC5BA6wHI

So when colleges where I knew she would be their best player did not recruit her; I have to admit I was upset. I was upset because I knew Megan McGuinness was a future star. But I also was upset because I never seen a kid with more heart that was more of a teammate.  I called a former Manager of mind at St. Bonaventure who is now a head coach told him he would regret not offering. I called my good friend in Maryland and told him the same. But when Niagara University offered Megan McGuinness I was thrilled.

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NIAGARA U  AND COACH FAUSTIN KNEW WHAT I ALREADY KNEW

One day Megan came into my office and she had tears in her eyes. She said she really liked Niagara but needed more time. She was upset because she didn’t want the Niagara staff to think she wasn’t appreciative of the offer, she just wanted to think about it. So I made a difficult call and asked Coach Faustin to give Megan more time. I will never forget how classy this women was on the phone. She said “Tiny I want Megan to enjoy this process and have fun with it” She said you tell Megan McGuinness we love her and her game...take her time” folks I can tell you first hand I have had some real knock down fights with college coaches when it comes to this matter.  Coach Faustin is about kids and you can bank on that.  But a funny thing happened later that night. Megan McGuinness with a joy in her voice called me and said I’m going to Niagara. I asked if she was sure and she said absolutely and Megan was off to upstate New York . I could honestly tell you I was never happier for a kid going to play for a coach and a school…I knew Coach Faustin was somebody Megan and her family could trust. For the schools that passed on …oh well and they can only think to themsleves what if…what if

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MEGAN McGUINNESS became the 22nd player in NIAGARA UNIV history with 1000 points

Megan McGuinness was named to THE MAAC ALL FRESHMAN TEAM her first year at Niagara. As a Sophomore and Junior was on the ALL MAAC and ALL MAAC ACADEMIC TEAM. As a senior this year she became only the 22nd player in school history to score 1000 points. And  what of all those players in her high school senior class that she was part? Well they have all  gone on to have nice careers in college. But none have come close to doing what Miss McGuinness has done over her 4 years. Megan McGuinness has taken the the long and hard road to get where she is today and her family I’m sure are very proud of all her accomplishments. They know she has had to fight every step of the way to earn all the accolades coming her way these days….NOBODY EVER MADE IT EASY FOR HER!

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McGuinness has had to fight every step of the way…even at MIDDLETOWN SOUTH

Nothing has changed with  Megan McGuinness’s approach towards the game. She comes home every summer for a few weeks. She works out everyday with her good friend Sara Olson of Monmouth University at Hoop Group.   They work so hard that the hoop group staff stops to watch. They  just watch and then just shake their heads in disbelief. They can’t believe the passion and energy devoted to just  getting a little better each day. When other kids attempt to join in the workouts they can’t keep up and in most cases, head to the sidelines. After these workouts she meets former teammates and head over to play pick up with her old coach Mary Beth Chambers AAU team.  This is not talk folks, this is a fact and to see it every summer is mind blowing.

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Megan McGuinness’s Parents know they have blessed with a rare child

Megan McGuinness’s  College career is winding down. I hope she has her passport ready because she is too good to stop playing. Megan has another 15 years of basketball left in her if you ask me. But she is a 4.0 Mathematics major so who knows what her plans are. I know she is one of the best players in Niagara University history, BOTH on and off the court. Its strange that she wears #1 because … the term #1 in program… and #1 in your heart has never applied more than in the case of  MEGAN McGUINNESS.

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I hope all Megan’s Friends will get a chance to see what she has become…

This Saturday can’t get here quick enough for me. I will most likely get my last  chance to see Megan and her good friend Sara Olson on the court together in college.  I will get to  MONMOUTH UNIVERSITY early and hope to sit by myself…I want to soak  everything in and not miss the tiny-est of moments. I want to close my eyes and remember every step of he way for this young lady. I want to see the smiles on her parents and sister’s face, I hope nobody disturbs me so I can enjoy the love and respect Megan family has for her one last time. i want of watch her wave to her  her friends and former teammates when she comes out of the locker-room. I want everyone to see what she has become. I hope I see when she and her good friend Sara hug each other and whisper good luck to each other and mean it. But most of all I want MEGAN McGUINNESS TO shine like the BIGGEST STAR WE HAVE EVER SEEN!

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