Last month, Aryn McClure, a Bobcat standout, was named preseason All-MAAC Player of the Year.
Being a preeminent performer on a dominant mid-major with national recognition, McClure, a junior, doesn’t put much if any stock into basically being anointed as, perhaps, the best player of the conference at the moment.
So she shrugged off any thought about living up to that form of pressure. In fact, she denied there ever being any pressure to begin with by neglecting to devote any energy to the honor.
“I don’t pay attention to any of that stuff,” said the Queens native. “Until I get it, that’s when it means something. It is good to get recognized, but I haven’t done anything to get it yet so it really doesn’t mean anything.
“You could say that it’s a goal,” added the two-time All-MAAC Third Teamer and 2016 Conference Rookie of the Year.
Though, they’re off to an 0-2 start to their tough 2017-18 non-conference schedule after losing at Iowa and against sixteenth-ranked Missouri, the Bobcats’ memorable 29-7 run through the MAAC Conference and to the Sweet 16 serves as the most successful basketball season in school history.
McClure was a key piece to the Quinnipiac title team, scoring a game-best 28 points in the MAAC Championship win over Rider, earning All-MAAC Tournament Team honors, and posting 11.7 points per contest in three NCAA Tournament appearances.
Before averaging 8.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.6 blocks and 1.3 steals through her first 70 games at Quinnipiac, the Springfield Gardens native was a star on the high school scene at Archbishop Molloy High School.
Prior to choosing Quinnipiac, McClure had a variety of offers from different division one and division two schools.
The foundation of her basketball prowess was laid playing at parks, venues and tournaments throughout the city. McClure showcased her talents at the Rose Classic, West 4th Street, Dean Street Park, Roy Wilkins Park, LL Cool J’s Jump & Ball Tournament and others.
“Growing up, I was the only girl on my block,” she recollected. “One of my neighbors had a hoop at the end of the street and we’d play ‘King of the Court’ all day or we would go to the park around the corner.
“Basically, in elementary and middle school, we’d play basketball all day,” she added. “I’d go out at 9 a.m., come home around 10 or 11 p.m. or come back for dinner and then go right back out.”
All that time is not only paying dividends, but it also captures the core of classic New York City basketball. The city is known for molding many of the grittiest, toughest and hardest-working basketball players you’ll find in gyms, parks, or driveway hoops. McClure serves as no exception.
“I have a hard shell,” she says as a result of being from the city. “It made me become independent. In New York, nothing’s handed to you, you’ve got to work for everything you want. It adds a unique flavor to anything you do and you have a chip on your shoulder when you come from here.”
The chip on her shoulder isn’t only carried by the New York native, but as evident by their showing last season her teammates showed that same mettle.
Having gone to the WNIT in 2016, the Quinnipiac squad didn’t enter last season with the reputation subsequently established after shocking multiple higher seeds.
For McClure, knowing the Bobcats probably won’t “sneak up on teams” this season, this year is all about improvement and helping to elevate this team another step - or two or three for that matter.
“I want to help make my team better and take us to another MAAC championship and take us further in the NCAA Tournament,” she said confidently. “I also want to improve my game overall to be smarter defensively.”
McClure and the Bobcats resume action at Ohio State University on Friday, November 17, at 7 p.m.
Locally, they’ll visit Manhattan College on New Year’s Eve and Iona College on January 6.