Whitney O’Mara was receiving her fair share of playing time as a freshman on Bellarmine’s basketball team last season.
The Mason County grad was averaging 16 minutes a game in the Knights first 15 games of the season. She enjoyed the coaching staff and her teammates, but after a few months O’Mara decided home is where the heart is. O’Mara decided to transfer from the Bellarmine program in Louisville to get a little closer to Maysville, making a move to Georgetown College for the upcoming school year.
“I’m a homebody, which was the main thing for me. I loved the coaching staff and all my teammates and everything, it wasn’t about the atmosphere, I just felt a lot better decision for me was at Georgetown,” O’Mara said. “It’s an hour from home and I love the small campus type deal.”
Mason County grad Whitney O’Mara will be playing for Georgetown this upcoming season after transferring from Bellarmine.
Home where O’Mara speaks of is where she scored 1,433 points, pulled down nearly 500 rebounds and dished out more than 200 assists as a Lady Royal. The point guard helped guide Mason County to a 96-34 record during her time and the Lady Royals to a regional title in 2015.
She’ll now head to Georgetown, making the jump from Division II to NAIA, hopeful to be eligible right away after taking a few summer classes. The 2017 10th Region Player of the Year thinks the experience at Bellarmine will help her right away with the Tigers.
“The competition at Bellarmine was really good,” O’Mara said. “But there’s alot of good players that go back to NAIA and a lot of good teams in NAIA.”
O’Mara scored over 1,400 points as a Lady Royal, helping guide them to the state tournament in 2015.
She’ll join a Georgetown recruiting class that has a Division I transfer from Western Kentucky University in Malaka Frank to go with Russell’s Madison Darnell, Campbell County’s Lexie Stapleton and Bowling Green’s Zakoria Hill in 2018.
The Tigers are coming off an 8-22 season and a first round exit in the Mid-South Conference. The recruiting class that includes O’Mara along with no seniors on the roster should help provide a boost for the upcoming season, a roster that also includes Fleming County’s Martina Lytle as she enters her senior season.
“Whitney is a competitor with a will to win,” Georgetown coach James Jackson said after O’Mara’s commitment to the Tigers, who enters his second season with the team. “She thrives under pressure and is active on both ends of the court. Her versatility and aggressive style of play will make her a fun player to coach. We are excited to have her at Georgetown.”
Jackson helped O’Mara’s decision to join Georgetown, saying they made her feel like home from the first day. The former Lady Royal was able to get some work in with the team last week in workouts with her future teammates. She’s focused on individual workouts for the rest of the summer and finds time to work out and shoot on her own when she can.
With a semester already under her belt, O’Mara has the feel of what it takes to be a student-athlete in college, which should help make the transition easier.
“Basketball is more of a job in college, everything is mandatory and you need a lot more hard work. You go from a two-hour practice straight to weightlifting and then come back for individual workouts. In high school you go for an hour and a half to two hours and you’re done for the day,” O’Mara said.
She’s also experienced the levels of competition compared to the high school game, another key factor helping her transition to her new school.
O’Mara was named the 10th Region Player of the Year for the 2016-17 season.
“There’s a lot more speed and a lot better competition. College ball definitely didn’t feel like high school basketball. There was a lot of standing around in high school where in college it’s back and forth action and you have to be on your toes,” O’Mara said. “My mental approach is my focus. I have to stay strong throughout the whole thing. It’s rough getting through college as an athlete. In sports to succeed you have to work hard at both (sports and academics) and stay mentally focused.”