Jacob O'Connell commits to Princeton University - Q&A with HG Insider on his decision

By Kaitlyn Fedor

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Photo by Production Team

Last week Princeton landed 7’0” center Jacob O’Connell from Saint Joseph’s Prep (P.A.) and the New Jersey Shoreshots. O’Connell is Princeton’s first commitment for the class of 2019. He broke everything that went into his decision and more for HG Insider.

Q: Why was Princeton the place for you?

A: “The school and its academics speak for itself, and basketball-wise it was a great fit as well.  The coaches there really believe in me and showed the most interest in me.  I think that playing in their system will allow me to be as successful as possible.”

Q: What is it like to continue your education at an Ivy League School?

A: “Education has always been really important to me and my family, so getting to continue mine at an Ivy League university while also getting to play high level basketball is a dream come true for me.”

Q: What do the Princeton coaches like about you?

A: “The coaches said that my skill set is unique and suits their style of play perfectly, and that I was the exact type of player they needed in my class.  They like that I can shoot, pass, and defend very well in addition to having a high basketball IQ.”

Q: What is it like seeing all of this hard work pay off?

“It’s very rewarding, especially with all of the people who have reached out to congratulate me over the last few days.  It’s nice to see that I have so many great people to support me, and I’m really grateful to all of my friends, family, coaches, and teammates who have helped me get to this point.”

Q: What are you doing to prepare yourself for the next level?

A: “I’m going to continue working on every aspect of my game.  I try to play as much as I can and take every opportunity I can to get in the gym.  In particular I want to focus on getting stronger and better conditioned.  Whenever I’ve played against college kids I feel like those two things have been the biggest difference between me and them.”

Q: What was your favorite part about playing with your AAU team, NJ Shoreshots? 

A: “My favorite part about playing for the Shoreshots is definitely my relationships with my coaches and teammates.  We’ve been together for 5 years now, so Coach Kessler and his assistants understand me really well. My teammates and I are really tight both on and off the court, so I look forward to playing with them every weekend.”

Q: How do you feel that playing for the NJ Shoreshots benefited you? 

A: “The Shoreshots allowed me to be exposed to playing with and against talented players, as well as being recruited to the point where I was able to go to Princeton.  In AAU I feel like I’m able to really be myself and play at a high level.  Like I said earlier, I feel like the Shoreshots coaches really understand me and are really helping me to maximize my potential.”