Basketball has allowed talented Jessica Scannell to travel the world

Basketball has allowed talented Jessica Scannell to travel the world
Aoife Dineen and Amy Waters, Brunell, try to block a shot by Jessica Scannell, Glanmire. Picture: Larry Cummins

BASKETBALL has given Northside native Jessica Scannell the opportunity to travel all over the world to play as a professional basketball player.

She now resides in Melbourne Australia with her partner ex-Neptune player Maciek Mitianiec, where she plays, and coaches with Wyndham in the big V State Championship.

Jessica is the daughter of (former Irish international and current Glanmire coach) Mark and mum Susan.

Her sister Clodagh also played basketball with Glanmire, and Boston University, and her brother Jack hoops with the Ballincollig U15 team.

Jessica Scannell with her father Mark, mother Susan, sister Clodagh and brother Jack on a recent holiday in Toronto Canada where Clodagh lives.
Jessica Scannell with her father Mark, mother Susan, sister Clodagh and brother Jack on a recent holiday in Toronto Canada where Clodagh lives.

Jessica had a very successful career with Glanmire winning multiple National League, and Cup titles before she headed Stateside to play with Iona College in New York.

“I was very fortunate to get an NCAA D1 scholarship to Iona College in New York,” Jessica said.

“In all honesty, it was probably the hardest thing I ever went through in my life. There were days when I seriously questioned if I still loved the game, and wanted to keep playing because it was just so tough.

“I also struggled with three bad concussions in my senior year and ended up missing my last season. Thankfully, I managed to get things together and I graduated on time.

Jessica Scannell at Iona College.
Jessica Scannell at Iona College.

“That whole experience really made me feel like I had overcome so much, and got so much stronger from the experience that nothing could phase me from that point on.

“That’s been the most difficult time in my career so far. I then transferred to Pace University in New York after my senior year.

“I was lucky enough to receive another full scholarship there, and complete my masters degree. I was also lucky enough to play for one of the best coaches I’ve ever had the honour to learn from, Carrie Seymour.

“She really taught me that you can’t think when you play, you have to simply be in the moment, how to read the game, and how to teach others to read and react too.

“It really set me up for my professional career too because I played almost 40 minutes a game that year.

“So if I didn’t transfer and finish out my college career at Pace, I wouldn’t have had the stats to continue playing as a professional.

“So in some ways, my concussions were a blessing in disguise.

“That’s one thing I would say to any Irish players looking to go to the States.

“Don’t worry about playing Division 1 or Division 2 college basketball, instead make sure it’s a school where you can achieve your academic goals, where you will receive the best scholarship, and be looked after as a person and where you can really grow, learn and enjoy the game.

“As a 17-year-old, I wish I hadn’t been so focused on the prestige of a Division 1 scholarship.”

After finishing college Jessica signed her first professional contract with Nottingham Wildcats in England.

She played there for one season before heading back to Ireland to play with Glanmire for another season winning the league and cup.

She then went on her travels again, however, this time to Australia where she played with a number of teams, and still plays with Wyndham today.

“I came to Australia two days after winning the league with Glanmire in 2015. I was supposed to come for six months to play for Melbourne Tigers for one season.

“Five years later, we are still here.

Loving Melbourne...

“We’ve fallen in love with Melbourne, and Australia in general, and we are Australian permanent residents, so it’s a home away from home for sure.

“I love how the Aussies love all sport so much and there is a level for everyone to play at.

“One high has been coming to play at Wyndham Basketball Club. This is the club where I have felt most at home and accepted. I just love the culture,and how our coaching director, and head coach Reece Potter runs the whole club.

Jessica Scannell and her partner Maciek Mitianiec with the Melbourne Tigers Under 16 team earlier this year.
Jessica Scannell and her partner Maciek Mitianiec with the Melbourne Tigers Under 16 team earlier this year.

“We also have a lot more mature, positive players in the team, and also some exciting young talent.

“I know this is my club, where I am supposed to be. Wyndham won the Big V championship last year in 2019.

“Although I was part of the team and trained and helped with the coaching side as well, I couldn’t play due to visa issues.

“Despite this, I felt so included and just as much a part of that championship campaign as I ever have in my life.

“It’s so strange because I’ve been at Wyndham Basketball Club for over a year now but still haven’t actually played a game.

Jessica Scannell doing some passing drills with some kids at Wyndham basketball club in Australia earlier this year.
Jessica Scannell doing some passing drills with some kids at Wyndham basketball club in Australia earlier this year.

“Our season was postponed due to coronavirus the night before our first game was supposed to tip off.

“I can’t wait for it to be over and hopefully take the court before the end of the year,“ Jessica added.

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