Q&A with Roosevelt Basketball Coach Brendan O'Connell

Coach O'Connell reflects on the season so far.

The Eleanor Roosevelt boys’ basketball team hasn’t enjoyed the success that many envisioned this season after last year’s state runner-up campaign. Much of the reason for that has been a lack of consistency, mainly due to injuries. Those issues began in the season-opening loss to River Hill, when the Raiders lost Columbia University-bound senior point guard Jamal Sims to a knee injury in the fourth quarter. There was hope that Sims might be able to return this year, but coach Brendan O’Connell said it doesn’t look likely.


Patch: What are your thoughts on how the year has played out?

 O’Connell: Coming into the year, we thought we had more people returning than I’ve ever had and that that would be a positive, but as the season’s gone along, we’ve been really affected by sickness and injury more than I ever have since I’ve been coaching here. It’s made it difficult to be consistent on the court.


Patch: How have those injuries affected the make-up of the team?

O’Connell: There’s been a few guys that at the beginning of year I didn’t expect to play a ton of minutes that have been pleasant surprises. There were a few juniors like Akil Charles, Marcellous Gail, B.J. Antoine. Coming into the year we felt we were pretty deep at guard and those guys would help our depth, but they’ve been playing a lot more than I would have ever predicted in November.


Patch: Do you feel good about where you are heading into the playoffs?

O’Connell: I haven’t had one player play in every game that’s year, and that’s amazing. So, it actually seems like for the first time all year – I don’t want to jinx it – but we’re pretty healthy, and hopefully the fact that everyone’s got to play a lot and step up for people out will be a positive when we get everyone back.


Patch: How big of a loss was Jamal Sims?

O’Connell: That was huge. I mean, that’s a guy who started a lot last year as a junior, he’s a Division I college player and one of the best players in the state. So, to lose him in the first game, that obviously changed things.


Patch: Where are you going to be seeded when the playoffs begin?

 O'Connell: I don’t know for sure. If we win out, I’m thinking that we’re going to be the No. 3 seed. And if we don’t, we’ll probably be in a coin flip for fourth or fifth. We could fall anywhere between third and fifth.


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