Despite being Iona’s leading playmaker, Rickey McGill still has plenty to prove

Ryan McFadden, Sports Editor

Iona College men’s basketball junior point guard Rickey McGill did not see a lot of playing time during his freshman season, with an average of less than 12 minutes per game. As McGill sat on the sidelines while former players A.J. English and Isaiah Williams led Iona to a 2016 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference crown, he knew he could contribute to the team’s success. McGill just needed the opportunity to prove himself.

“I knew what I was capable of,” McGill said, reflecting back on his first season at Iona. “I just had to work hard. My freshman year I wasn’t more about basketball.”

McGill got the opportunity he was looking for as a sophomore and didn’t look back. The Spring Valley, N.Y. native inserted himself into the Gaels starting lineup and went from averaging two points per game to 10.5 points while helping Iona to a second straight conference title.

Midway through the 2017-18 season, McGill took another step in his development by becoming primary scorer and ball handler on an Iona team that is second in the MAAC standings behind Canisius.

McGill is averaging 14.3 points and 5.3 assist per game, while shooting 47 percent from the floor. McGill tallied 20 or more points three times and notched his first double-double when he registered 14 points and 12 assists in Iona’s loss to Canisius on Jan. 21.

McGill, who received second team all-conference preseason honors, is realizing that his hard work is starting to pay off. However, there is still room for improvement.

“There is more work to be done,” McGill said. “But I think I have been doing good compared to the last two years I’ve been here.”

McGill attributes his progress on the court to the hard work and dedication he puts in during practice. McGill is determined to compete at full strength and not let anyone outwork him.

“Every day I bring it,” McGill said. “I don’t come in slacking. I try my hardest and not let anyone outwork me.”

With seven new players, Iona had to relearn how to work with one another. In addition to that, the Gaels had players returning from injuries and taking on new roles. McGill believes the team has formed brotherhood and their chemistry continues to get stronger.

“We are coming along,” McGill said. “We gave up some [games] we were suppose to win, but we are working harder everyday.”

There is no stopping for McGill, who is eager to both take his personal game to another level and to help Iona win a third consecutive MAAC championship.

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