As a 5-foot-9 left handed, point guard from Portland, Oregon, Omar Leary has heard the comparisons to former Rose City prep star Damon Stoudamire a million times. After two great games at the Les Schwab Invitational, those comparisons are proving to be pretty valid.
Leary led his Lincoln team over Georgetown Prep on Friday night with 22 points, advancing to the quarterfinals against Lake Oswego (OR). In the first two games of the tournament, Leary is averaging 16 points and four assists. The point guard has been successful with his perimeter game, much like Stoudamire.
That comparison is something Leary is used to.
“Oh my goodness,” Leary said laughing. “I’ve heard that ever since I’ve been in high school. I take it as a compliment. I have some tapes of him when he was in high school. I know him personally. He’s a real good player. I would love to model my game after him.”
The NBA star has given his young hometown understudy some tips to help improve as a player.
“It’s been a great opportunity to play with him. He showed me that I need to bulk up quite a bit. If you are not over six foot, you have to hit the weight room,” the 165 pound Leary said.
Lincoln head coach Jeff Bair said those tricks of the trade have help mold Leary into the player he is today. That player is anchoring a courageous run in a loaded LSI field.
“Omar is the head of our team. As Omar goes, we go,” Bair said. “To be honest with you, he has one of the highest basketball IQs that I’ve seen.”
Bair said he’d like Leary to grow in his shot selection – sound like Stoudamire? – in order to become a more complete point guard. Leary said he is trying to grow as a vocal leader.
“I’m still trying to learn and improve my game. I’m learning how to lead a team and getting the entire tram involved,” Leary said. “Every year I’ve had to learn something. As a freshman, I had to learn how to play varsity. Last year, I learned how to be a scorer. This year, I’m learning how to be a leader, that floor general. Every year it is a new task.”
With continual growth as a player – both physically and mentally – Leary is seeing a number of programs involved with his recruitment.
“Lately I’ve been hearing from Stanford, Oregon, Washington, Washington State, a lot of the PAC-10s. Nothing too serious just mailing lists and stuff like that,” Leary said.
With all of the schools Leary mentioned in attendance at the LSI, Leary will likely see a heavier dose of attention from the PAC-10 teams. Maybe even more.
“I’m just keeping my eyes open and keep working hard to see what happens,” he said.
Stay tuned to RivalsHoops for updates on Leary and the rest of the LSI field.