CORK'S Sean McCarthy became one of many Irish players in the past couple of years to journey across the Atlantic, seeking to climb the basketball ranks Stateside.
The Ballincollig BC and Neptune BC product has had a successful start to life at Felician University, earning himself regular game time at the NCAA Division 2 college level.
The 6' 5" guard has become one of the more important players at the college, usually being the first name called from the bench when he’s not included in the starting five.
“I joined the team with no expectations other than knowing that I was going to work hard and get better as a player,” McCarthy admitted.
McCarthy’s college had a turbulent start, unable to string more than two consecutive wins together up until the turn of the year.
However, Neptune’s U18 National Cup winner has featured prominently throughout, having regular breakout performances in his debut season.
A double-double (10 points, 12 rebounds) in a December game over Bloomfield was quickly followed with a 17-point showing in a win over St Michael’s College of Vermont.
“Overall, I am happy with how things worked out so far but I know that I need to keep working and improving every day.
“There’s definitely a lot of parts to my game that I still need to get better at and develop.”
His debut season will draw to a close by the end of the month, but the Coláiste Choilm graduate will remain there until the end of the academic year.
“The education side of college basketball is very important as if you don’t have the right grades you can’t play.
“It’s not easy balancing basketball with school but so far I’ve managed to make it work so hopefully I can continue to do so.”
Finishing the season strongly is the priority for McCarthy as his side finds themselves placed third in their division.
“We have some tough games left but we are in a very strong position to make the playoffs.
“As a team, we know that we have players capable of putting up big scores and competing with all other teams in the conference.”
McCarthy returns to Ireland towards the end of April when he finishes his exams, eager to see family and friends once again.
“Getting my degree and helping Felician be as successful as possible are definitely my long-term goals.
“I would also love the opportunity to play both U20 and senior basketball for Ireland but you never know what the future holds.”