Webster dictionary defines the word bad as “Failing to reach an acceptable standard.” The Urban dictionary happens to have several definitions for the same word. Through some extensive research, I came to 2 definitions that really spoke to me on this subject matter. The first was that bad is “To be fine or sexy,” the second is ” To use the original word of bad, which normally means not good into a word that translates into everything that’s good.” Since we want to shy away from TMZ…for now, lets elaborate on the second definition from Urban dictionary.
T.J McConnell has been a symbolism of hope for a franchise that has been so lacking, a true blue collar player. Growing up in Pittsburgh (I know I will regret this later if I do not say FUCK THE PENGUINS) T.J has had a penchant for winning. Basketball was born in to this man’s genes. His father, Tim, played college ball and is one of the most successful coaches in Pittsburgh high school (more specifically WPIAL history). His Aunt, Suzie McConnell-Serio, was an All-American at Penn State, an Olympic gold-medalist, and is a member of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.
The legend of T.J McConnell started when he played high school ball for Chartiers Valley High School in Pittsburgh, his high school coach was none other than his father. After being named team captain for his senior season, he averaged 34.2 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 9.1 assists per game. He received many accolades that season including being named Class 3A player of the year by Associated Press, first-team all-state honors, and male athlete of the year (which was for all sports) by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
T.J started with Duquesne in 2010. As a freshman, McConnell averaged 10.8 points, 3.8 rebounds, 4.4 assists, and 2.8 steals a game and earned Atlantic 10 Freshman of the Year honors. He had another solid season during his sophomore year. With the never ending desire to win, T.J transferred to Arizona for his Junior year with the hopes of competing for a national championship, due to NCAA transfer rules he had to sit or the entire season. In his senior year with Arizona, McConnell helped lead the team to a 21-0 record and the season eventually ended with an elite-8 appearance. He was voted first-team All-Pac-12 and was named to the Pac-12 All-Defensive-Team.
Then comes the pros. McConnell went undrafted in the 2015 NBA draft where he joined the Sixers afterwards. Ever since he has stepped foot on the court, he has shown nothing but fight which can be proved here, and here. The undrafted PG out of Arizona has now been starting since December. For him, no game is ever over until the final-buzzer sounds. He wants to be great, he knows he can be better and continues to work every day. With the season the Sixers are having, with “the Process” getting hurt (again) to Noel being the odd-man out, to Okafor playing the laziest defense I have ever seen, not much has gone according to plan.
Though his NBA career did not start as I am sure he had hoped, he seems to have already exceeded expectations. McConnell might not be the long term PG for the team but at least he is fun to watch, he has had to work for everything he has earned. To me, that is what playing in Philadelphia is all about. With his work ethic, the sky’s the limit.