Connolly scores another top basketball prospect

McMaster men’s basketball coach Amos Connolly started his initial recruiting efforts with some very specific players he wanted, and another of those talents, Sarnia’s Joe Rocca is the latest to join the Marauders.

A standout shooting guard from St. Christopher’s secondary school, Rocca is considered one of the elite graduating players in the Ontario high school ranks. Among several tournament all-star and MVP accolades, Rocca is a Top-100 nominee for the All-Canada Classic, which showcases the best high school players in the nation.

“Other than his obvious talent, Joe has to be one of the most competitive players I have ever seen,” said Connolly. “I expect him to contend for playing time right away and raise the effort level of the whole team.”

After informing Connolly of his decision, the 6-foot-3 Rocca had some comments in conversation with Barry Hayes of the Hoopstars Canada recruiting service.

“McMaster just felt like a place where I could see myself playing for the next five years. Since I walked on campus and met the coaching staff, it felt like home. I feel [McMaster] will push me as hard academically, as they will athletically, to help me become a successful person on and off the basketball court.

“Coach Amos has the drive to be successful. He works so hard at his job and the sky is the limit.”

Rocca also indicated his familiarity with fellow commits Brett Sanders and Aaron Redpath, played a large part in his decision to become a Marauder.

“Brett and I played together [on the U17 Ontario team] a few summers back. He’s a great player and a great guy. As a ‘big’, he can shoot it; can put it on the floor, and rebound, so I’m very excited to play with him, “explains Rocca.

”Having Aaron commit was a huge deciding factor for me [too]. Every time I’ve seen him, he has impressed me in different ways. He’s another piece to this puzzle that will hopefully result in a national championship in the end.”

Connolly still has his eye on some other key recruiting targets and is hoping the recent momentum of these early commits will help sway some of those into wearing Maroon.

“There was a select group of special players we wanted to aim for and all three of our committed recruits were in that group. There are still a couple out there that we would love to add to the mix and we will continue to work at convincing them that McMaster is their best option for their university experience.”