Kinsella Marquette bound
JM grad eligible for the 2004-2005 season
By Pat Ruff
Mike Kinsella took a small gamble a couple of months ago, leaving Rice University in hopes of finding a happier existence and an even bigger-time college to play basketball.
As far as he's concerned, that gamble just landed him the jackpot.
Kinsella, the 7-foot former Rochester John Marshall boys basketball star, reached an oral agreement late Tuesday afternoon to attend Marquette University in Milwaukee beginning the fall of 2004. Kinsella has accepted a full basketball scholarship from the school.
"It feels great right now," Kinsella said by phone from Minneapolis on Tuesday night. "It is unbelievable how well things have gone the 21⁄2; months since I (left Rice). There is not another school in the nation that I would rather play basketball at than Marquette."
When it comes to men's basketball, Kinsella has found a special place. Marquette is fresh off an appearance in the NCAA Final Four this past spring and is coached by Tom Crean, widely regarded as one of the brightest young coaches in America.
Kinsella, who graduated from John Marshall in 2002, attended Division I Rice University in Houston this past school year on a basketball scholarship. But after one unhappy year there, which included him suffering a stress fracture in his foot and being redshirted, Kinsella elected to leave the school and was granted his release by Rice.
He quickly enrolled at Minneapolis Community and Technical College. That came with an eye toward playing one season at the junior college level and hoping to draw the interest of Division I schools all over again. The interest came more quickly than Kinsella imagined.
Credit MCTC coach Jay Pivec for that. Pivec, who had scant knowledge of Kinsella out of high school, was wowed by him when he showed up for workouts early this summer.
"This is a 7-foot, 255-pound guy who is a wonderful offensive player," Pivec said. "He's got great hands, he passes the ball well, and he shoots the ball extremely well. Plus, he is a very dedicated kid."
All of that in mind, Pivec quickly spread the word to the upper-echelon basketball programs around the country that Kinsella was a special player who'd be available in one year.
After drawing interest from such schools as Marquette, Iowa State, Minnesota, UNLV, Boston College, Utah, New Mexico State and Syracuse, it didn't take long for Kinsella to make up his mind.
Actually, scholarship offers from Iowa State, UNLV and New Mexico State flowed in recently. But when Marquette extended itself Monday, it took just one night to think about it. Kinsella had earlier taken an unofficial visit to the school and been sold.
For him, it was Crean who put things over the top.
"He is an unbelievable coach with the way he does things," Kinsella said. "He cares for his players, and he is very good at developing them."
Kinsella is the second former John Marshall player to accept a scholarship from a basketball power in the past year. Longar Longar, a 6-foot-11 center who starred for the Rockets this past season, signed with Oklahoma University last fall. The Sooners reached the Final Four two seasons ago.