By Carolo Pascale
Since the end of the basketball season, Rider men’s basketball has lost five players to the transfer portal, with many of them being guards. To help fill that void, the Broncs have added incoming freshman combo guard Jack McFadden.
The 6-foot-5 inch, two-star ranked recruit —according to Verbal Commits a popular recruiting website — from Endwell, New York, was a prolific player at Maine-Endwell High School. He’s also played at the highly regarded SPIRE Institute and Academy, which produced 2020-2021 NBA Rookie of the Year LaMelo Ball, and AAU Team Fredette Elite UA Rise.
McFadden said his love for basketball came from his family.
“My brother and all his friends taught me and my dad and my mom,” said McFadden. “I have had a basketball in my hands ever since I was really little. I fell in love with the game like every other day I played it.”
McFadden was a multi-sport athlete growing up, playing hockey, football and baseball along with basketball. But his real talents showed when he had the rock in his hands. He gravitated toward basketball because of how fun it is.
“Honestly, it was just because of how it made me feel when I was playing it. I didn’t feel that way with any other sport I play,” said McFadden. “Basketball just made me feel like no other sport did. I had so much fun with it. And I thought I was the best at it. So I pursued that.”
McFadden began playing in Maine-Endwell’s varsity basketball program when he was in eighth grade, which caused him to adapt his level of play. Nevertheless, he held his own and led the team in free throw percentage and assists that season. McFadden called the time “surreal” and a “big first step” for his career.
Throughout his high school career, McFadden earned many accolades. From 2018 to 2020, McFadden was named to the Basketball Officials Stars and Stripes All-Star Team, as well as being First All-Section Four. In 2019, he was named to the NYS All New York State Roster Ninth Team. In 2020, McFadden earned his most valuable hardware, being named to the NYS All New York State Roster Eighth Team and being named the 2020 NYS Section 4 Class A Player of The Year.
After his senior high school season was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Jack felt disheartened about it not finishing the way he wanted it to.
“It was definitely tough. But I was just very grateful that we had a season at all,” said McFadden. “We had 10 games, and I was just grateful that we could play in some games at all, because I thought we were gonna have no games my senior year.”
But in the 10 games that his team did play, he averaged 25.5 points and eight rebounds per game (acording to stats from his website). By the end of his high school career, McFadden managed to become Maine-Endwell’s second all-time leading scorer with 1,309 career points.
“It meant a lot to me because I just love playing in front of my hometown. They supported me all through my career,” said McFadden. “That’s a big accomplishment for me, and it means a lot because of how much I respect my town and my school.”
After he graduated high school, McFadden decided to take a gap year, instead of going straight to college. During his time off, he focused entirely on basketball, playing at the highly touted program of SPIRE Institute and Academy and on AAU Team Fredette Elite UA Rise.
McFadden’s coach at Team Fredette, Jhason Clark, believed that the gap year really helped McFadden develop both on and off the court.
“It actually helped him mature,” said Clark. “At his high school he kind of was the go-to guy and they ran things for him. So he was so used to having the ball in his hands all the time. So going into SPIRE, having other guys that were really good around him actually matured him and he was able to be off the ball a little bit more. When he gets to that level at Rider, everything’s not gonna be run for him. So I feel like the gap year really helped him.”
After his gap year, McFadden looked to finally take the step to play at a Division I program, and Clark had the connections to be able to put McFadden in front of Broncs Head Coach Kevin Baggett.
“I have a good relationship with Coach Baggett,” said Clark. “So I was sending him film and constantly updating him on Jack’s progress and just building that communication between me and Coach Baggett, and then Coach Baggett and Jack.”
On March 30, McFadden officially announced his commitment to play for the Broncs.
“Jack played in front of a lot of coaches, but in his mind, and in his heart, he really wanted Rider,” said Clark.
As for why McFadden chose Rider, he said that it’s a perfect size for him and he loves the coaching staff that the Broncs have assembled.
With McFadden now committed to Rider, the Broncs will have more depth at the guard position. He will now be able to learn under the tutelage of senior guard Dwight Murray Jr. and junior guard Allen Powell.
“I feel like I can bring a lot of different skills in my skill set, like shooting, passing, putting it on the floor, making my teammates better and also creating my own shot, getting to the lane, even though I’m a little undersized,” said McFadden. “I’m not only like a catch and shoot; I can create my own shot and get to the lane. I’ll do whatever Coach [Baggett] wants me to do.”
With an entire summer to work with the team, McFadden is excited to get started.
“When I committed, it was just the world off my back with stress and all that,” said McFadden. “I was just so happy that I’m finally committed to Rider. And I’m just so excited to see what we can do this upcoming fall.”
At the time of publication, McFadden had not officially signed with Rider but indicated his intention to sign in early May.