Before his senior season, Kyle O’Quinn was not thinking about Division I college basketball. Serving as a benchwarmer for Campus Magnet his junior year, O’Quinn had yet to receive any offers. Prospective schools, of any level, had nothing to go on - he barely played.
By the end of his senior year, however, the 6-foot-9 O’Quinn had made himself into a legitimate sleeper, having averaged 20 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks in leading the Bulldogs to the PSAL Class AA quarterfinals. In their final game, he shined, nearly leading Campus Magnet to an upset of second-seeded Boys & Girls, a two-time city finalist.
“It didn’t seem like the kid I had seen in the past,” said talent evaluator Tom Konchalski. “If he played that way every single game, he would’ve been the most dominating player in Queens in the PSAL.”
That vast improvement recently paid off as he signed a letter of intent to play basketball this fall at Norfolk State of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, joining fellow local prospects such as former Christ the King star Rob Hampton, who transferred from Drexel, and Jamaica native Aleek Pauline, formerly of St. Mary’s of Manhasset, Long Island. He was also recruited by St. Francis, East Tennessee State, Delaware and Binghamton.
O’Quinn reasoned his breakout season came out of opportunity. Saddled behind upperclassmen, he never received enough playing time to make a difference. Campus Magnet Coach Charles Granby never saw O’Quinn work as hard, in preseason, practice or games.
“He did a complete turnaround,” Granby said. “He decided he wanted to play and he started to dedicate himself.”
O’Quinn, Konchalski and Granby said, certainly has the ability to succeed at Norfolk State. A solid post player with soft hands, quick feet and impressive athleticism, O’Quinn, who will major in physical education at Norfolk State, ate up competition inside. As a senior, Granby said, O’Quinn just tapped into his potential.
“Of all the kids I’ve had the last four or five years, Kyle has the most potential to make it big,” Granby said. “He might have the opportunity to make a living at this game.”
O’Quinn will not be the only Bulldog at Norfolk State. Shooting guard Mennon Chavis, who averaged 17 points per game, has verbally committed to the Virginia school, and should be there in the fall of 2009, Granby said, after gaining enough credits at Erie Community College.