Prior to this season, not many - even within the Portland metro area - were
familiar with Omar Leary. However, after a fantastic sophomore season and a
good spring on the AAU circuit, not only the Rose City knows about the
cat-quick 5-foot-10, 155-pound point guard from Portland (OR) Lincoln High School, but the rest of the nation is catching onto one of the top rising junior point guards. So much so that he's already received an early offer.
"I got an offer letter from Texas A&M," said Leary. "I was pretty excited
Getting a scholarship offer so early in the process has helped pump up Leary's
confidence in his game.
"It lifts my self-esteem when a big time program that's in the Big 12 shows
interest in me," said Leary. "It's just an honor for me to get recognized like
While Leary is obviously flattered by the strong interest early on, he's not
quite ready to commit just yet. While planning to find out more about A&M's interest in him and their program, Leary's going to play
things by ear while he concentrates on the summer ahead and next season. Things have been going really well with the Portland Legends 16-and-under squad so far this spring.
"We've had a lot of success. We won a tournament out in Minnesota (the Howard
Pulley Invitational in Minneapolis)," said Leary. "We made it to the Elite
Eight in the Houston Kingwood Classic. We've been having a pretty good spring
and hopefully we'll have a good summer."
Leary has fantastic speed for a point guard with a quick first step that allows
him to drive past his defender almost at will. His athleticism allows him to
finish around the hoop in many different ways. The lefty also has a nice
looking jumpshot that is continually improving. As a sophomore at Lincoln,
Leary averaged over 17 points, earning all-league honors while leading his team
to its first league title in 39 years. This off-season he hopes to improve on
his floor game as the team's leader at the point.
"It's going to be my job this year for my high school to run a team, and I've
been using this summer to work on that and hopefully lead us to a state
championship," he said.
Leary will have to try winning a title with a new head coach. His head coach
with the Legends, Troy Berry, had been the Lincloln head coach but recently moved to take over the head coaching position at cross-town Benson Tech High School. While Leary is sad to see Berry go, he knows that he will continue to keep in close contact.
"It's a sad loss," said Leary. "But I know there were things outside of
basketball why he had to leave. I still respect him and he's still a father
figure in my life. And I'll still be playing for him with the Legends
throughout my high school career."
Leary indicated that some of the programs he hopes to hear more from in the
future include Arizona, Florida, Connecticut, and Missouri. If he continues to
play the way he did last season and so far this summer, there's no doubt that
he will. Be sure to keep a close eye on this latest point guard talent from
the Portland area over the next two years.
Jed Tai is a senior writer with Hoopville.com