Posted On: 02/11/21 4:58 PM

Last season we saw a handful of freshman that made a significant impact for their respective varsity programs last season. One of them was McDonogh’s Mathani Paul-SwinsonMathaniPaul-Swinson5'11" | PGMcDonogh | 2023State#143NationMD. The 5-foot-11 point guard was thrown into the fire after the Eagles had multiple starters come down with injuries that would extend through much of their season. Paul-Swinson was not only asked to handle all of the pressure that comes with the point guard position, but also to help with the scoring load as much as possible.

Like many freshman, the season started out shaky for Paul-Swinson, but with the experience and reps he slowly started to settle in and pick his spots accurately. As the season progressed you began to see his confidence rise. He looked forward to carrying that momentum into the spring and summer but unfortunately. COVID limited any chance to play for many prospects around the country.

“I definitely focused on my shooting this spring and summer,” Paul-Swinson told Prep Hoops. “You know, just being able to kill them if they go under the screen, hit open jumpshots when they come my way and I also worked on my body a lot. Just a lot of lifting.”

I recently attended McDonogh’s practice as they prepare for their season opener next Wednesday and it’s evident that Paul-Swinson has dedicated the necessary time in the weight room. His frame is more filled out and when they got up and down, he embraced contact more than he did last season on both ends. This was crucial as he prepares to take on an increased role this season as a sophomore.

“Coach Jordan and Coach GA told me just be a point guard. You got thrown in the fire your freshman year, so you got this. They’re going to ask me to score a little more this year because we lost some guys, but I think I’m ready for the role.” Paul-Swinson said.

If the practice I saw was any indication for what to expect with Paul-Swinson as a shooter, the Eagles will be in good shape. He was extremely comfortable shooting off the bounce and in particular when he was operating in ball-screen scenarios. He has much better pace and form with his release and you can tell his confidence when the ball leaves his hands is present.

Coming into this season, the Eagles boast a stout 5-to-6 man rotation. They’ll battle through some lingering injuries to key players this season, which gives Paul-Swinson even more of a reason to step up and embrace his role.

“We’re really big. We have Gabe GrantGabeGrant6'9" | CMcDonogh | 2024MD (6’9) coming in and Ian RobinsonIanRobinson6'6" | CMcDonogh | 2023StateMD (6’7) is going to be a big piece for us this year. I think we’re really big and I think we can defend. Those are going to be our two big things that we’re going to do really well this year,” Paul-Swinson said.

McDonogh tips its season off next Wednesday when they play host to Glenelg Country.