Boys Basketball: D-I prospect O’Mara anchors Benet in post
BY BLAKE BAUMGARTNER For Sun-Times Media November 13, 2012 6:16PM
Junior center Sean O’Mara (left), who has received offers from a number of Division I programs, returns to anchor the Redwings inside. | Jon Cunningham~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 15, 2012 6:14AM
Grabbing six postseason victories over the last three years, high standards have been raised around Benet’s basketball program.
But it’s another long postseason run, the one Benet’s football team pulled this year in reaching the Class 7A state semifinals, that will have an early impact as Benet looks to improve on its 21-win season from a year ago.
The quartet of junior center Sean O’Mara, senior guards Jack Toner and Jack Euritt and sophomore forward Jack Beneventi, which will be heavily counted on this season, all have contributed mightily to the Redwings football team.
“I don’t see why it would (have a long-term effect),” Benet coach Gene Heidkamp said. “It might take us a little bit longer out of the gate to play the basketball and have the (style) we want to play. But we kind of understand that going in it’s a nice problem to have.
“It’s a long season and we’ve got multiple goals we’re trying to accomplish throughout the season. Really the main focus of our players now, our football players, is football and it should be. I mean, they’ve obviously accomplished an unbelievable season and hope that they’re able to go all the way.”
Already having received scholarship offers from a number of Division I programs, including Iowa State, Illinois, DePaul and Marquette, O’Mara is as big a reason as any for Benet to be optimistic going into its 2012-13 season.
O’Mara averaged team-highs in both points (15.1) and rebounds (8.6) last year.
“Obviously, his game continues to develop. He gets better all the time,” Heidkamp said. “He’s obviously starting his junior year and he had a really strong summer. We expect great things out of him this year on the floor. I think his play is gonna speak for itself.”
The 6-foot-9, 220-pound O’Mara will be joined in the post for one final year by senior forward Pat McInerney, who averaged 10.8 points and 8.4 rebounds last year. McInerney, a four-year varsity member with a vast amount of experience, has committed to play baseball at the University of Illinois.
“I think what’s a little bit different is that Pat’s healthy,” Heidkamp said of McInerney, who missed 13 games early last year due to a fractured right wrist. “It’s been a while since Pat’s looked healthy and I think that’s gonna pay off for him. If he’s able to stay healthy, he can develop into a very good player. His past success speaks for itself.”
With a defense that limited its 28 opponents to an average of 42.3 points last season, Heidkamp readily admits that the defense may not be as good this year.
But he also believes his Redwings will score more than they did last year on their way to winning more than 20 games for the third consecutive season.
With O’Mara’s three football teammates flanking him and McInerney along the perimeter, the athletic Redwings should get ample looks from the outside.
Benet has developed a reputation for being a program that isn’t afraid to play in big-time games, while often finding success — evidenced by two regional titles and a sectional title over the last three years.
That mentality won’t change anytime soon.
“I think that’s always an expectation,” Heidkamp said. “We want to be consistently good. We don’t want to have a great year one year and not be very good the next (year) and I think these kids have that same expectation of themselves.”