O’Mar Stanley: Men’s Basketball Star continues to prove himself as a top conference player

Photo by Niamh Brennan

From three-star recruit to Boise State men’s basketball star, O’Mar Stanley has quickly become one of Bronco Nation’s favorite players. 

With flashy plays, insane dunks, game altering blocks and occasional threes, there is much to admire about Stanley. 

Despite his immense success on the court, the Overland Park, Kansas native has taken a long journey to end up on this Bronco squad. 

In high school, Stanley was a three-star recruit out of the Link Year Prep in Branson, Missouri and had previously been named to the Class 6A All-State second team as a senior at Blue Valley West High School in Overland Park, Kansas.

Out of high school, Stanley received offers from University of Mississippi (Ole Miss), Tulsa University and University of North Carolina at Greensboro before settling with St. John’s University.  

St. John’s, much like Boise State in the Mountain West, is no stranger to a bit of competition in conference play. 

With St. John’s residing in the Big East conference, there is no lack of potential “star power” teams within their conference. They constantly repeat against the likes of historic programs such as Villanova, Georgetown, Butler, Creighton, Seton Hall and, not to mention, the 2023 NCAA Men’s Basketball champions, UCONN. 

In his time at St. John’s, Stanley experienced a slow bloom. 

In his freshman year as a St. John’s Red Storm, he appeared in 30 of 32 games. Despite averaging 10 minutes per game, Stanley averaged three points, two rebounds and garnered eight blocks and 14 steals on the season. 

During his second season, Stanley cemented his name. Appearing in 31 of 33 games and making 18 starts, Stanley racked up much more playing time, averaging 15 minutes a contest. Stanley made his time on the court count as he averaged 4.7 points per game and 2.7 rebounds per game. He was extremely effective on defense as well, adding 24 blocks and proving himself as a dual-threat by shooting  45.5% from behind the arc.

Despite making waves with the St. John’s program, Stanley decided to take his talents from Queens, New York to the great Boise, Idaho. 

In late March 2023, Stanley entered the transfer portal just in time for the Broncos to quickly swipe him up in early April 2023.

Stanley entered the Bronco program in one of the most ideal times. Just as former beloved Bronco forward Naje Smith wrapped up his final season for the Broncos in 2023, the Broncos were in need of an electric, show stopping, dual-threat player. 

That is exactly what they got. 

Though teammates are quick to halt the never ending comparison between Smith and Stanley, there is no doubt that the two are incredible basketball players. 

Since arriving in Bronco Nation, Stanley has finally been given the opportunity to showcase all that he has worked for. 

With coaching from Bronco head coach Leon Rice, there is no doubt that the new Bronco has been excelling in all aspects of the game, including from behind the arc. 

Stanley has been impressive from behind the arc this season. Despite being a big man, Stanley has quickly proved that he can be just as effective as any other player on the court. After an impressive game against San Diego State University, where the big man went 3-3, the world got to see his greatness. 

“I feel like that’s always in the bag,” Stanley said about his three point shooting capabilities. “I’m more of a team player … I’m not really worried about scoring. I’ve been getting double teamed a lot, I haven’t been able to really get into paint like I’ve been wanting to … I’ve been working on that shot since I’ve been here so it’s not really anything new.”

Not only does Stanley boast a 37% from behind the arc and 58% from the field, he also leads the team in blocks. There is no denying the greatness and boundless possibilities for Stanley. 

“I’ve said it before I’ll say it again,” Bronco guard Roddie Anderson said. “He’s the best player in the conference.”

Though Stanley is having an incredible season and proving himself with every matchup, head coach Leon Rice knows the best is yet to come. 

“The growth is amazing,” Rice said. “It’s what you know, I had a vision for him of what he could do because I know his talent, his ability…he Is a great kid, all those things, but you never know how much a guy can absorb coaching…all the things he’s doing here we’ve seen him practice.”

Despite being the ‘new kid on the block’, Stanley has rapidly earned the respect of his teammates and been deemed worthy of the amount of playing time the star receives. 

“We always wanted to throw him the ball,” Rice said. “Now we got better at it as he got better. It’s a two part thing…he’s just a joy to coach and he’s just hungry to learn…he’s not done getting better.”

With a great projection of growth for the budding star, there is no doubt that Bronco Nation is in for an adventure watching this dynamic athlete grow and evolve. 

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