Jeff Borzello and Paul Biancardi4 Minute Read
Five-star small forward Liam McNeeley has chosen Indiana as his collegiate destination, delivering a significant victory for the Hoosiers’ recruitment efforts.
Indiana emerged victorious in the competition against Kansas for McNeeley’s commitment, with Texas also in the running until recent weeks. This commitment is a testament to the consistent and unwavering pursuit of the Hoosiers, who extended an offer to McNeeley in the spring of 2022 and maintained their interest over the past 18 months.
McNeeley explained his decision, stating, “Indiana has been recruiting me the longest and they have been the most consistent. They have never wavered during the process. That has meant a lot to me.”
Furthermore, McNeeley expressed his excitement about Indiana’s passionate fan base, saying, “The fans are crazy. They have shown up to my games all over the country.”
McNeeley, a 6-foot-7 small forward from Texas who attends Montverde Academy in Florida, hails from a basketball family. His mother, two uncles, grandfather, and great-grandfather all played Division-I college basketball. McNeeley is currently ranked 13th in the ESPN 100 for the class of 2024.
Reflecting on the coaching staff at Indiana, McNeeley shared, “Coach Woodson played at IU and won a national championship under Coach [Bob] Knight, then went on to play in the NBA. He has done what I want to do. My goal is winning a national championship, to be drafted and play in the NBA. I believe his experience can help me attain those goals. I am also excited to learn from Coach Calbert Cheaney, who is now on staff. Their plan is to have me in spots to utilize my versatility and have me involved in ball screens and coming off screens.”
During the spring and summer Nike EYBL circuit, McNeeley exhibited his talent, averaging 16.8 points and 5.1 rebounds in 17 games while shooting 37.5% from beyond the arc. Additionally, he represented the USA at the U16 level, contributing 5.7 points and 5.0 rebounds per game in six matches at the FIBA U16 Americas, where he won a gold medal.
McNeeley has enjoyed a strong start to his senior season at Montverde, recording an impressive performance of 25 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 three-pointers in a recent victory over Arizona Compass Prep in the Border League.
As one of the premier shot-makers in the class of 2024, McNeeley consistently delivers against formidable competition throughout his high school career. With excellent footwork, he excels in off-ball movement, utilizing screens for spot-ups, wide pindowns for three-pointers, and curling in the lane. In addition to his shooting prowess, he demonstrates strong decision-making skills, employing shot-fakes and drives effectively. McNeeley’s size and strength enable him to finish at the rim through contact, while his ball-handling and passing abilities complement his scoring versatility. Although his defense is a work in progress, he aims to regularly defend smaller and quicker opponents.
McNeeley is the first commitment for Indiana in the 2024 class, and the Hoosiers are still actively pursuing two key targets. They remain in contention for five-star guard Boogie Fland, who is believed to be deciding between Indiana and Kentucky, as well as top-15 big man Derik Queen, who is also being pursued by Houston, Maryland, and other programs.
Notably, McNeeley’s commitment signals the third consecutive year in which Indiana has secured a five-star pledge, following Malik Reneau in 2022 and Mackenzie Mgbako in 2023. It is worth mentioning that neither Reneau, Mgbako, nor McNeeley had any prior ties to the program or hail from Indiana. When Woodson assumed the role of head coach in 2021, he prioritized recruiting the best prospects nationwide, dispelling the notion that starting at the top of the recruiting hierarchy is impossible.
Recalling the initial skepticism he faced, Woodson said in an interview with the Indianapolis Star last month, “When I first came in here as the coach, my coaches that kept over, and the new guys I hired, they were like, ‘Woody, you can’t start at the top in terms of recruiting.’ And I said, ‘Bull—-. Why not? All they can do is tell you no.’ They were like, ‘Well, it doesn’t work like that in the college game. You’ve got to go and just recruit players, and then work your way to the top in terms of trying to recruit the best players.’ And I didn’t want to wait.”
Laura Davis covers the world of basketball with precision. Her articles explore NBA and college basketball, offering game analysis, player profiles, and highlights. Laura’s passion for hoops is evident in her comprehensive basketball coverage.