John Hegarty Emerges

John Hegarty has never had the amount of confidence that he has these days. The 7-footer has seen his weight steadily drop - and watched his game consistently grow. After being dubbed "two-point" by one observer last week against the best New England has to offer, Hegarty is starting to turn into a hot commodity.

John Hegarty is finally playing with confidence and it's showing on the court.

The 7-foot, 320-pound big man, who was tipping the scales at close to 400 pounds two years ago, was so unstoppable at an event featuring the top players from across New England last week that N.C. State guard and Boston native Farnold Degand began calling Hegarty "two points."

That's because when Hegarty touched the ball, you may as well count the basket – because no one could stop the former Dartmouth High (Mass.) center.

Hegarty has always been bigger than his peers. He wasn't allowed to play football when he was younger because of the weight limit, so he went down to Montes Park in New Bedford when he was in the seventh grade.

``I did alright because I was so much bigger," Hegarty said. "I could block shots and rebound, but people were going right by me."

Hegarty was on the freshman team his first season at Dartmouth High, averaged about four points per game as a sophomore on varsity and missed all but four games of his junior campaign due to a stress fracture in his left foot.

Last season Hegarty emerged and averaged 14 points, 10 boards and 5 blocks per game. However, the only schools to take any interest were Rhode Island and Dean Junior College.

``Nothing against Dean, but I didn't want to waste two years," Hegarty said.

So he opted to get his academics and his body in order and head to Winchendon this season.

``I had heard the stories of this giant down in Southeastern Massachusetts," Byrnes said. "Everyone talked about his size and how basketball wasn't important to him. He's set a goal for himself to get a college scholarship and I've never seen someone more dedicated. He's a giant piece of granite that is starting to be sculpted and if he gets down to 285 pounds, he's going to be a guy who is intriguing to a lot of Big East-style schools."

Byrnes said that former Duquesne coach Danny Nee, who coaches Hegarty this summer, compared him to Aaron Gray at the same stage.

``He was impossible to stop when he gets the ball on the block," said Brewster Academy coach Jason Smith, who had Hegarty on his team last week. "He's got good footwork and just needs to continue to work on his conditioning. But he finishes everything around the rim."

Rhode Island is still heavily in the mix for Hegarty and Vermont has expressed interest as well.

``As soon as I qualify, it might be URI," Hegarty admitted. "I like the coaches and it's close to home. There are a lot of advantages to going there, but at the same time, I want to see what else happens."


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