Posted On: 12/19/17 9:27 AM
After a down 2016-17 campaign, Bishop McNamara has gotten off to a hot start with a 6-2 record. Head Coach Martin Keithline and staff don’t have a roster with a ton of size, but they do have athleticism and play makers that have already proved them to be a team that others aren’t going to look forward to playing. One player in particular that has stood out thus far is junior guard Garrett Kirkland.
Prior to this season, the 6’2 guard played his AAU season with New World. After a decent sophomore season at McNamara, Kirkland had a few things in mind in which he needed to improve on to take on a bigger role for his junior season.
“I wanted to improve my defense,” Kirkland told Prep Hoops. “Talking more and being a leader both on and off the court were also important focuses for me.”
If you haven’t already seen McNamara play this season, being an active defender is a must for Coach Keithline’s schemes. They play a variety of defenses that include trapping and jumping the passing lanes to spark transition opportunities, so players need to stay locked in at all times. So far, Kirkland has played well on that end of the floor, but his biggest growth has been his confidence with his jumpshot.
Kirkland is averaging 15 points, three rebounds and two assists through eight games this season. In their most recent outing, Kirkland recorded a season-high 26 points that included eight three’s. The Mustangs are filled with player who can take their match up off the dribble, get in the paint and force the defense to collapse. That allows Kirkland to wander around the three-point arc and wait for kick-out passes. Thus far, he’s taken advantage of it and is shooting at an efficient clip from deep. Because of McNamara’s rapid pace, Kirkland is also good at filling out lanes in transition. As the defenders react, he’ll make the decision of whether or not he’ll fill the lane all the way to the rim and await a dump-off pass, or flare out to the three-point line, forcing the defender to pick their poison as to giving up a lay up from the ball- handler or a three-point shot from Kirkland.
The WCAC is arguably the home of the best high school basketball you’ll see in the entire country. Although McNamara had its struggles last season, Kirkland has confidence that this year will be different.
“This year I can see use making some big noise in the WCAC and catching people off guard,” Kirkland said. “A championship is definitely what’s on our mind.”
In terms of his recruitment, Kirkland doesn’t have any offers at the moment but has taken visits to George Washington, Virginia Tech, American, Mount St. Mary’s and James Madison. He has a 3.4 GPA and plans on majoring in mechanical engineering. If a particular school doesn’t offer that major, he’s interested in something in the science field.
What will a college program get with Garrett Kirkland?
“A hardworking, smart and talented player who will come into practice and games playing as hard as he can every single day,” Kirkland replied.