Varsity Basketball Player PJ Kellechan ’23 Reflects on a Successful Season
Anthony Figueroa ’23
Tarmac recently sat down with basketball player PJ Kellachan’23 to discuss his basketball season and college plans.
Tarmac: What were your personal goals for your senior season?
Kellachan: I wanted to become a better offensive player and compete against some of the best bigs in the league; practicing every day helped me do that.
Tarmac: Do you think that losing key players from last year’s team affected your team this year?
Kellachan: We were a different team undoubtedly, with no clear #1 option after the departure of two out of three captains from last season. Different guys contributed in different roles this year. Even during tryouts and practice, though, it was clear that the culture hadn’t changed. People still showed up 90 minutes early and left an hour late to get up shots and just to talk to the team.
Tarmac: As a senior, how did you serve as a role model to the other players and help this team throughout the season?
Kellachan: Learning from the Class of 2022, I think the way that the 11 returning players interacted with one other, as well as the intensity we had at practice, was more impactful than any words I could have said to our four new juniors and one new sophomore.
Tarmac: What teams were your biggest competition?
Kellachan: Archbishop Stepinac High School and Long Island Lutheran High School were the biggest competition, skill-wise. However, the challenges are everywhere, especially in the 12 league games we played. We were the “Super Bowl” for some teams, and that’s why we had to bring our best every day.
Tarmac: Back in December, you had a health scare where you collapsed on the court. How has this impacted you, both as a player and a person?
Kellachan: As a player it hasn’t changed much for me. Upon being cleared a couple weeks ago, I haven’t differentiated anything in my game. However, it has wildly changed my perception. It’s given me a resurgence in my prayer life—I don’t take a second for granted. I’ll never be able to repay Mr. Bob Paul ’92, Mr. Jorge Vargas, and Mr. Dan Feeney for their actions in such a traumatizing moment.
Tarmac: You’re committed to play college basketball next year. What made Scranton your first choice?
Kellachan: Scranton was always a school that I considered to be at the top of my list, for a number of reasons…Two of my best friends since elementary school recently committed there for lacrosse. My dad is a 1991 graduate of the school and has always spoken highly of it. It’s aschool where I academically fit. The Landmark Conference is one of the most competitive in all of Division 3. Scranton Basketball hasn’t had a losing season in 15 years, so I know I’m walking into a winning culture. The social scene at Scranton is one that I see myself fitting into. Compared to the other schools that I was talking to, it had by far the best student life.
Tarmac: How did the college recruiting process play out for you?
Kellachan: I did everything I could to get on Scranton’s radar. I first got my name out there by playing in a bunch of Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) tournaments from May to June. After that, I put some film together and made a highlight tape. I posted the tape on YouTube and linked it in an email to the Scranton coaches, and eventually got an email back where they asked me to come to their individual pro day. After the pro day ended, the coach asked me to come back a week later for a visit and to play with the team. Finally, I was offered a roster spot which I graciously and privately accepted right then and there, and then told the coach the next day that I would gladly accept.