Brenna McGuire: For the Love of the Game
Feb. 11, 2007
by Kelsey Farbotko
When Brenna McGuire was a junior at the Buckingham Brown and Nichols School in Massachusetts, she experienced one of the most devastating blows any aspiring basketball player can face. She suffered a severe knee injury. The damage to her anterior cruciate ligament was so bad that she did not even play basketball during her senior season.
Ordinarily, that would be equally devastating to the chances to be recruited by a major collegiate program. That certainly appeared to be the way things were shaping up for McGuire until her AAU coach Kara Leary took the offensive.
“My coach looked at the schools that were interested in me and told me that I could do better,” McGuire said. “She told me to pick five schools I wanted to go to, basketball or not. One of the schools was Virginia. She, by herself, put together tapes from two games that I didn’t even know of and sent them to each school. And each school responded.”
With a new opportunity to play major college basketball, McGuire chose Virginia.
“It’s just the whole package,” McGuire said. “I took a visit to Virginia and just fell in love with it–with the campus and the kids. The school in general is just so special. Basketball was just an added feature.”
Her impressive high school career is a testament to her ability. McGuire managed to net 1,366 points throughout the years she was healthy enough to play. She started all four years, and twice was named Street & Smith’s Honorable Mention All-American.
When she reached Virginia, McGuire continued to stand out, starting several times as a freshman. One obvious pattern in her college performances is her ability to make multiple three-pointers during games. Her freshman year, McGuire made four consecutive treys against ACC rival Clemson. Her sophomore year yielded an incredible season best of five three-pointers against St. Francis. Last year, she totaled 44 three-point baskets to enhance her reputation as a long-range shooter.
It’s been three years since McGuire was a freshman, but the memory of the first time she started is still fresh in her mind.
“I felt excited,” McGuire said. “I was not nervous at all. I felt like I was prepared and ready to play. I wanted to see how I gelled with my team at the time. It was fun.”
Now a senior, McGuire has taken a more involved role on the team, contributing support and leadership to a close-knit team that has survived adversity this season.
“I think my teammates respect me, because I am a fourth-year,” McGuire said. “We have such a great bond on the team that everyone respects each other. If anyone says anything to another teammate, you know that it’s important. I think I bring leadership, as a fourth-year.”
At the same time, her team has also had a profound effect on her view of herself.
“The most important thing I’ll take from the team is my confidence,” McGuire said. “We rely on each other so much–every single day, working so hard. You do have your moments when you go up and down, but it’s your team that builds you up at those times. What I got from them is to be more confident in myself.”
The fans have witnessed how McGuire’s confidence has improved her game. A proven talent at the long shots, she has completed 185 treys total, putting her third for career three-pointers in the program’s history. She achieved her career-best number for treys in a game with six against Cleveland State.
This level of talent may not be surprising to those who know about the McGuire family. Her brothers and father both played, but it was her late grandfather, Al McGuire, who was a legendary basketball coach for Marquette. Family aside, basketball was never forced; it was always a love for her.
“My parents pretty much always said do whatever you want to do in life, whether it is sports or not,” McGuire said. “If you pick something, do it hard. I have two older brothers, and I just grew up watching them, and wanting to do whatever they did. It just so happened that both of them play basketball. I was always around it, and basketball just happened to fall into my lap.”
After years of practices, games, coaches, and teammates, soon McGuire’s collegiate basketball career will be over. As she moves on to graduation and a career, she will always remember these years fondly knowing that basketball shaped her life in a way nothing else could.
Out of Bounds with Brenna McGuire
Three words that best describe me …
personable, kind, driven
The extreme activity I would like to try …
My advice to a young athlete is …
never give up
Best Christmas present as a kid …
One thing I always pack for road trips is …
Best thing about being a Cavalier is …
the winning tradition
My goals for the season are …
to win the ACC tournament.
Best thing I like about John Paul Jones Arena is …