Men’s basketball player Garret McHenry embraces the grind

Written By Luke Mongelli, Co-Sports editor

Photo by Point Park Athletics

Garret McHenry is a 23-year-old 6 foot 5 all-conference senior guard and forward for the Point Park Pioneers’ Men’s Basketball team.


McHenry is majoring in sports, arts and entertainment management (SAEM) and is a transfer student from Butler County Community College.


“My time as a Point Park athlete has had its fair share of ups and downs from being a transfer student, coming off a gap year in which I didn’t play organized basketball, to having to redshirt my initial year and tearing my ACL when doing so, to now being a senior that was an all-conference player last year as a junior…I think it’s safe to say I’ve really experienced it all at Point Park,” McHenry said. “Everyone from the coaching staff to the faculty has been amazing and really makes you feel as though being a Pioneer is like being a part of one big family.”


Outside of school and basketball, McHenry says the only real hobby he has is weightlifting and the occasional recreational sport.


“I really enjoy pushing myself in that aspect as it’s more individually centered than basketball as you’re the only one that can get that weight up or push for that extra rep, so it’s refreshing in that sense, because your success  there solely relies on you and your drive,” McHenry said. “Although there aren’t many opportunities for me to play it much anymore, I really enjoyed playing baseball in high school and at the community college that I went to and it’s something I’ll do from time to time still whenever I get the chance.”


McHenry attended Boiling Springs High school, located around three hours east of Downtown Pittsburgh where he was recruited highly as a basketball and baseball player.


This season for the Pioneers, McHenry has clocked in 54 minutes, shooting 5-23 from the field, and grabbing 7 rebounds for the team in their first two games against Division One schools such as Robert Morris University and Kent State. 


The Pioneers dropped their first two games versus the powerhouse teams, but McHenry said spirits are still high in the locker room.


“The season has been great so far given all the obstacles that we’re currently facing with the pandemic,” McHenry said. “Right now, I think the team is doing a tremendous job at elevating their level of play. When you’re playing Division One schools like we are, you can do two things: either back down because of their status or dig deep and compete. And our guys have been great at stepping up no matter the opponent we’re facing and don’t shy away.” 


Of course, McHenry said that there is room for improvement. 


“A big thing for us as a team that we could do better is handling the ball and not turning it over, it’s a big emphasis for us this year in what we need to do if we want to win,” McHenry said. “We can’t afford to lose possessions because of careless mistakes when we’re playing because our opponents are just too good to be giving away possessions.”


McHenry also said that looking forward he has set aside some personal goals, as well as goals with the rest of his teammates.


“Personally, this year I have set the goals for myself to be an NAIA All-American, as well as, an Academic All-American,” Mchenry said. “Also, I would like to build off of my all-conference selection last year and become a first-team all-conference player this year. As a team, we’ve set the goals out for ourselves to go undefeated at home, be the regular-season champions, win the conference tournament and make it to the national tournament.”


McHenry and the Pioneers’ next game is on Thursday, Jan. 7 against Indiana University Southeast. 


After college, McHenry hopes to extend his basketball career overseas, following in the footsteps of his father and eventually opening up his own fitness center.


“My goal is to hopefully sign a deal overseas to continue to play as it’s been my goal ever since I started playing basketball. My dad played professionally over in Ireland and to continue on that same path as him would be incredible and a dream come true. So all my focus and time is being devoted now to making that happen,” McHenry said. “Career-wise, once I finish playing, I hope to one day open up my own fitness center where athletes can work out at and do their skill and athleticism-related work all in one place and hopefully even help train them and pass on my knowledge of all I’ve learned through my time as an athlete.”


The senior basketball star also had a few words of wisdom to give to any incoming athletes to the basketball program at Point Park University:


“Believe it or not your days as an athlete are numbered and in the blink of an eye your career as a basketball player will be over and you won’t have the opportunities that you do now. So just enjoy every second of it because one day it’ll be gone,” McHenry said. “Embrace the grind.”