Unsigned Senior Spotlight - Justin O’Neill
Every year, there are quality prospects hidden inside New England. Sometimes they're hidden because they're late-bloomers physically. Other times, it's because they haven't had the chance to prove themselves against top competition. Occassionally, it may be a little bit of both.
Last year, it was Nick Fiorillo, a 6-foot-7 forward who had been one of the best players in the state of Maine, but hardly a D1 recruit. He showed signs of being able to translate his game to a higher level in the spring so Vermont took a chance on him, initially as a preferred walk-on. Fiorillo exceeded expectations almost immediately upon his arrival and is well on his way to earning a scholarship after spending a year redshirting in the program.
This year, might Justin ONeill have been that player had spring basketball gone uninterupted? He's a similarly skilled 6-foot-7 forward whose career to date in New Hampshire has also been on par with Fiorillo's.
O'Neill got his first taste of varsity basketball at Bedford as a sophomore and became a significant contributor by season's end. As a junior, he had emerged as the most talented player on the team and went on to earn third-team all-state honors in the NHIAA. This year, he was one of the very best player in the New Hampshire state association, earning all-state honors and finishing as the runner-up for D1 Player of the Year honors. Nevertheless, his ascension as a prospect might still just be getting started.
School: Bedford High School (NH)
AAU: New Hampshire Storm
By the Numbers
2019-20 Stats: 20.5ppg, 7.8rpg
Academics: 3.47 GPA & 1400 SAT (720 Math, 680 Reading)
Awards & Accolades
2020 1st Team All-State NHIAA
2020 Runner-Up NHIAA D1 Player of the Year
2019 3rd Team All-State NHIAA
2x Academic All-State NHIAA
"The work Justin has put in over the last 9 months is astronomical. He is very much what I would consider a late bloomer. His game and body has evolved so much. His recruitment went from really nothing to D3, D2, and Post Grad schools in such a short time. He is a legitimate wing at 6'7 that is an A+ shooter. He has an excellent basketball IQ and most importantly wants to put in the work to be the best he can be. He is truly and outstanding young man."
- Matt Regan, NH Director, New England Storm
"I have been coaching Justin on the AAU and grassroots circuit since he was in 7th grade. Justin is a true student of the game who has always been looking for ways to improve. He is an elite shooter, not just for his size, and someone who's skill set will transfer into the college game. His high basketball IQ and work ethic have helped his game grow exponentially over the last year-and-a-half and, as he starts to put more muscle on his frame, his game will only continue to get better. Justin is willing to put the time into his game and someone who values winning and being a good teammate above all else. Look for Justin to continue to improve and make a name for himself whereever he ends up."
- Will Horne, Head Coach, NEXT
"It will give me a great deal of pleasure to [recommend] Justin. He is a wonderful young man whose potential is unlimited...Justin is a very skilled player. At 6-foot-7, he has great size. His perimeter shooting is excellent, not only for someone his size, bur for any player. His ball-handling skills are exceptional. He clearly has the ability to break people down off the dribble. He is an excellent athlete with very good speed and excellent jumping ability. He was our leading rebounder and is an excellent passer. His defense improved dramatically between his junior and senior year. I credit his work ethic and willingness to get more physical for this improvement. There is no question that he is the best player to ever graduate from Bedford High School...There is also no question that he would be a tremendous asset to any program."
- Mark Elmendorf, Head Coach, Bedford High School
"O'Neill has a lot of very intriguing markers. He has an impressive combination of size and skill. He's been improving at a rapid rate so there's a proven learning curve. Physically, there's a ton of upside still left to discover as he really hasn't even begun filling out, relative to what he should achieve in a college weight room. You hear great reports about his work-ethic, character, and love for the game. If you look at him as a finished product, then maybe he's a D2 or D3 candidate, but if you start projecting him out a couple of years down the road, he's a guy that scholarship level schools should definitely be doing their due diligence on."
- Adam Finkelstein, ESPN & NERR