Bennan O’Neill is probably one of the most hyped recruits there has been over the last decade. I can’t remember this much hype surrounding a prospect and their highlight reel (O’Neill’s has 125,000+ views) since Tehoka Nanticoke.
I purposely try not to put too much stock in high school kids highlight cuts for a good reason… It’s hard to tell who’s going to live up to the hype, and who’s not. The jump from high school lacrosse, even high end high school lacrosse, to D1 is tough to adjust to and not every top prospect ends up being a top 10 player by their senior year.
Let this be me going on record to state that I believe the Brennan O’Neill hype to be the TRUTH. I believe it so much, I’m going to start including the hashtag along with it and will simply start referring to him as #TheTruth.
But because I love hearing myself talk, and because now I like seeing my words in print, let me go on and on about why I really do think Brennan O’Neill is going to be A PROBLEM for ACC defenders in 2021.
Human Highlight Reel
We have all seen his over the top highlights that include one-handed finishes, wraparounds, backhands, BTB’s and more. O’Neill has incredible “hands”. He is capable of dodging, and re-dodging and then getting shots off in any manner the situation calls for. The difference between O’Neill’s flash and that of others, O’Neill can pull these off with defenders draped all over him because of his size. HIs flash is less of a “let me show off my stick skills” and more a clinic in how “despite quality defense, I’m going to make you look silly”. Plain and simple, if his hands are free, he is a danger.
Great Off-Ball IQ, Helps Him Choose The “Right Time”
One of the reasons pairing him with Michael Sowers is sure to go well for Duke, his on-field IQ is off the charts. That makes him an off-ball threat, and also makes him insanely effective as the “second dodge” in situations that call for a two or three-step dodge. Picture this. Mike Sowers goes to the cage, draws a double-team and throws it over the top to O’Neill on the opposite side of the field. O’Neill has a guy on him, but that guy has NO HELP as the defense had already slid to Sowers. In situations where O’Neill gets the ball with “no help in place”, forget about it. It’s as good as a goal. At worst, it will result in a quality shot.
Can Dodge From Anywhere On The Field
O’Neill’s sweet spot is dodging from the left wing. But he’s no one-trick-pony. Yes, he will score a fair number of goals dodging underneath his defender from that left wing, and will more often than not stick that shot with his left like some kind of Canadian sniper. But where he needs to dodge from the top corner down into the middle of the defense, or down the alley, using a mix of quick feet and supreme size, O’Neill is a threat all over the field. From X. From out top. From GLE. You name it, this kid is a threat.
I could go on and on but I’ll save you. I don’t get excited about high school kids all that often as it pertains to lacrosse, but when I do, it’s because I legit believe they are going to be nasty at the next level.