Which is fitting, in a way, because after spending the last few years traveling around the country in search of a basketball home, McSweeney believes his career is finally clicking with the Nittany Lions.
The 6-foot-6, 205-pound shooting guard transferred into the program for the fall semester after spending a season and a half on scholarship at Towson University, and the spring of 2004 working out at San Diego City College. Under NCAA transfer rules, McSweeney is not eligible to play for the Nittany Lions until the 2005-06 season, at which time he will have two years of competition remaining.
McSweeney is not on scholarship. But he is practicing with the team every day and offering moral support from the bench during home games.
Hes working hard, forward Aaron Johnson said. If we had him this year, hed be a huge help.
Johnson knows a thing or two about contributing to the program as a walk-on. Come to think of it, he knows a thing or two about McSweeney.
Both were lightly recruited out of high school in 2001 Johnson at West Chester East High in suburban Philadelphia and McSweeney at Dillard High in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Both wanted to boost their stock by attending prep school, and both landed at St. Thomas More Prep in Oakdale, Conn., for the 2001-02 season.
With Johnson banging inside and McSweeney bombing from the arc, STM went 29-1. Legend has it that McSweeney put so much arc on his shot during his prep school days, that on two different occasions he hit lights hanging from gym ceilings.
It was awesome competition, we had an awesome coach [Jere Quinn], McSweeney said. And me and Aaron just developed a friendship. Its not like there were any girls there or anything. It was an all-boys school.
He was my best friend, Johnson said. We just kicked it went to movies, out to Hartford. There wasnt much to do. So basically we played ball all the time.
Though the team did well and both players produced, the major-college offers never came. So Johnson headed to Penn State as a walk-on, proved himself as a rebounding force as a rookie, earned a scholarship and now leads the team in scoring and rebounding.
McSweeney, meanwhile, received a scholarship to Towson. He played well as a rookie, starting the final seven games and shooting a team-best 37.5 percent from the arc. He averaged 5.8 points in less than 19 minutes per game, and appeared to be part of a new foundation for a program that went 4-24 in 2002-03.
But it didnt happen. Five games into the 2003-04 season, he quit the team.
Me and Coach [Michael Hunt] just had our differences, on and off the court, McSweeney said. I decided to make a change. So last spring I went to a junior college in San Diego.
He took classes and worked out with the team there, and began looking for a Division I program in need of a shooting guard.
Enter Johnson. The two had talked by phone several times per week since they left prep school.
He called me up and said, Yo, whats up with Penn State? Johnson recalled. I said, Let me talk to my coaches and Ill see what I can do. I talked to them and they got in touch with him. They invited him to come as a walk-on.
McSweeney went through the formality of open tryouts. It was a formality because he plays the one position where the Nittany Lions have the least depth the wing. At this moment, there is only one other natural three-man in the program, freshman Geary Claxton.
Ill bring some outside shooting, play some defense, put pressure on the ball, McSweeney said. Being 6-6, I can post up a little, too.
McSweeney likes to compare his game to that of another 6-6, 205-pounder New York Knick Allan Houston. Old school basketball fans would say he calls to mind former Los Angeles Laker Jamaal Wilkes, whose smooth style earned him the nickname Silk.
As fate would have it, McSweeney was named after another man who made his name in Los Angeles. Actor Cylk Cozart, who has been in everything from School Daze to White Men Cant Jump to Blue Chips to Conspiracy Theory, is tight with the family.
My dad used to play basketball with him, McSweeney said. I call him my godfather. But hes actually my dads good friend.
Of course, taking the time to explain all of that to everyone who asks about his name would be a little much. So McSweeney simply tells them the correct pronunciation and leaves it at that.
Its for real, he said. But they think Im joking. Its fun.