There were several high-level offers early on in the recruiting process for Benet Academy's Sean O'Mara, but of all the big-named programs there was one that was there from start to finish: Xavier.
That commitment and persistency paid off for coach Chris Mack and assistant coach Travis Steele as Xavier landed O'Mara Tuesday night. O'Mara, who received 20-plus offers from mid-major and high-major programs, chose the Musketeers over Loyola. The 6-9, 240-pound O'Mara is one of the top 15 prospects in the state of Illinois in the Class of 2014.
"I started to feel extremely comfortable at Xavier two weeks ago on my official visit," says O'Mara. "I felt comfortable with everyone and everything, from the coaching staff to the players to the managers to the campus itself. It was that comfort that put it over the top."
This was an old fashioned recruiting battle that went down to the wire. O'Mara had completed his official visits nearly two weeks ago but took his time in deciding. In the end, the battle featured programs with different selling points. O'Mara's decision was a difficult one as he weighed the pros and cons of two distinctly different basketball programs.
"I was really excited to say yes and commit to Xavier," says O'Mara, who visited Loyola and Xavier on back-to-back weekends in September. "But it was extremely difficult and hard to call and tell coach [Porter] Moser no."
However, the allure of playing in the newly formed Big East Conference and for a program with the tradition and facilities of Xavier ultimately won out. The Musketeers have averaged over 10,000 fans a game since moving into the state-of-the-art Cintas Center a decade ago, while averaging 24 wins with seven trips to the NCAA Tournament over the past eight years.
What college coaches appreciated about O'Mara was the fact he knew exactly who he was as a player and would relish in it. The big-bodied O'Mara lives on the block, isn't afraid of contact, enjoys battling inside and became a dominant high school player as a result. As a junior O'Mara averaged 16 points and 8 rebounds a game while constantly facing double-teams.
The Benet big man, who is also a starting offensive lineman on the unbeaten Benet football team, believes he fits in well with how Xavier plays and how Mack intends to use him. Plus, he's anxious to spend his freshman year playing with current Xavier junior Matt Stainbrook, a 6-10, 263-pound center.
"I'm a back-to-the-basket 5-man with 4-man tendencies, and their system is a great fit for me," says O'Mara. "They have a big man now in Matt Stainbrook who I can go in and learn from as a freshman."
O'Mara is a true big man with terrific passing ability and whose offensive capabilities are improving. He joins an impressive Xavier recruiting class, which features a pair of four-star recruits in 6-8 forward Makinde London, who committed last week, and 6-4 shooting guard J.P. Macura. The four-man class also includes point guard Edmond Sumner out of Detroit.
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