WALTERBORO, S.C. – Crafty guard Tyler O'Neill from Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia has signed a letter of intent to play men's basketball next season at two-time NJCAA Region 10 champion USC Salkehatchie.
O'Neill, a 6-foot, 1-inch, 176-pound point guard, competed on the Under 20 National Team for Queensland in Australia. The tournament was hosted in February 2023, where Queensland finished fourth nationally. Throughout the tournament, O'Neill averaged 6 points and 4 assists while shooting 41% from the three.
"Tyler is a floor general. His basketball IQ and court vision are going to allow us to play a free-flowing style," Coach Lynch said . "He's practiced and played with great players his whole life. He's been well coached from a young age and that becomes evident in his decision making while he's on the court. Tyler is at his best when he's in transition, which is where I intend on letting him go be him. He has a lot of growth ahead of him, but he's not afraid of work, and I can't wait to coach him everyday."
In addition to playing in the U20's Nationals with Queensland, O'Neill also plays in the National Basketball League 1 (NBL1) for the Gold Coast Rollers. The NBL1 is a semi-professional league in Australia designed to help develop future professional players.
"It was great to hear that Tyler had found a home to continue his basketball journey," said Gold Coast NBL1 Head Coach Anthony Petrie. "He has worked really hard to make this a possibility and his family has sacrificed a lot to help him get there. He is a tough kid who can play on both sides of the ball, and I know his teammates will love what he brings on a daily basis. Tyler is another Gold Coast junior we are extremely proud of, and he has contributed a lot to our association both on and off the floor. We all can’t wait to see him continue to develop and keep using the game of basketball to give him opportunities that we know he will make the absolute most of."
O'Neill credits his high school coach, Dave Claxton, as being fundamental in his development as a player. "Tyler is a quick guard who can put great pressure on the ball defensively. He also has the ability to get to the basket and distribute the ball when necessary. I know he will do well and we wish him all the best," Coach Claxton said.
Tyler is the second signee from the Gold Coast, joining Nevarda Higgins who signed with Salkehatchie back in April. The duo has played together since 2019 and will look to provide some instant chemistry among a young group.
O'Neill becomes the ninth signee in the Coach Lynch era. He joins a diverse recruiting class which features signees from South Carolina, Virginia, Costa Rica, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Tyler plans to compete in the NBL1 throughout the summer and is set to play with the Gold Coast Rollers in his first season. He will report stateside in August.