Photo by Mike Schumann, The Daily Hoosier

2024 5-star Liam McNeeley impressed by IU basketball as his recruitment expands

It shouldn’t be a surprise — Indiana is in for a heavyweight fight when it comes to landing class of 2024 5-star forward Liam McNeeley.

The Hoosiers have been long considered one of McNeeley’s top suitors, but it was only a matter of time before the competition stiffened for the Texas-based product who attends Montverde Academy in Florida.

Indiana, Texas, Oklahoma and Michigan are four that have been mainstays in his recruitments for a while, and McNeeley told The Daily Hoosier over the weekend Alabama, Kentucky and Ole Miss have been starting to get more heavily involved.  Kentucky is a relatively new entrant into his recruitment.

McNeeley is at Texas right now on an official visit.  He went straight there from Nike EYBL circuit action in Georgia.  That is the only visit he has planned for the spring or summer, at least to this point.  He took an official to IU in September, so he wouldn’t be able to return to Bloomington for another official until August when he’s considered a senior for NCAA purposes.

McNeeley’s main point of contact at Texas was head coach Chris Beard before he was fired by UT during the season.  But McNeeley told The Daily Hoosier he also built a relationship with now Longhorns head coach Rodney Terry when Beard was still at Texas.  Terry was an assistant under Beard, so that relationship wasn’t a restart when Beard was let go.  The Ole Miss involvement is obviously explained by Beard’s move there.

It isn’t always easy for juniors to see a lot of minutes at Montverde, but the 6-foot-7 McNeeley is coming off a junior season there that saw him average 13.7 points and 4.5 rebounds per contest against national competition in the NIBC conference.  He made 2.3 threes per game and shot 85 percent from the free throw line.

“I think I had a really good season,” McNeeley told The Daily Hoosier.  “I got better mentally and on the defensive side, so I’m looking forward to carrying that over to this EYBL season and the next high school season.”

Since he attends Montverde in Florida, McNeeley switched to the Florida Rebels Nike EYBL program this year.  Texas and IU were regulars at all of McNeeley’s games this weekend during the first live recruiting period.

While Indiana will end up slugging it out with top schools for McNeeley, the Hoosiers are still top of mind for the versatile forward.

What stood out to him about Indiana’s 2022-23 season?

“They had Jalen Hood-Schifino from Montverde, he’s going to be a one-and-done, and that’s what I’m trying to do,” McNeeley told The Daily Hoosier at the EYBL in Georgia this weekend.  “Coach Woodson, he put in a great plan for Fino, and he’s a great basketball mind, so I think it can be good for me too.”

McNeeley got to know fellow Montverde products Hood-Schifino and Malik Reneau during his visit to IU.

Indiana’s style under Woodson sounds like a fit for McNeeley.  He considers himself a point forward, so he certainly could initiate the offense at times similar to Hood-Schifino.

What’s he looking for in a college system?

“An NBA style that’s going to show my NBA ability to the scouts and eventually get me to the league,” he said.

While McNeeley’s recruitment is expanding, he said he would like to start narrowing things down after the EYBL concludes in July, and he’d like to make a college decision before his senior season at Montverde begins in the fall.

Watch: Junior season highlights of 2024 IU basketball target Liam McNeeley

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