Class of 2024 forward Liam McNeeley is playing up a year on the Nike EYBL circuit, but you’d never know it by just watching him.
A top-15 five-star prospect who will attend Montverde Academy for the upcoming year, McNeeley will end up as one of the more coveted national prospects in his class due to his combination of shooting ability and ball-handling to go with his strong 6-foot-7 frame, basketball savvy, and tough-minded approach to the game.
Indiana has been pushing on McNeeley since the early spring, and they are one of the schools pursuing him the hardest right now in his recruitment. The interest runs both ways, and McNeeley told The Daily Hoosier this week at the Nike EYBL Peach Jam in North Augusta S.C. he plans to use one of his junior year official visits in Bloomington.
What makes him want to use one of those visits at IU?
“They’ve showed that they really like me,” McNeeley told The Daily Hoosier. “They reach out after almost every game.”
McNeeley says he speaks to head coach Mike Woodson and assistant Brian Walsh the most. He doesn’t have anything formally scheduled with anyone just yet, but said Indiana is one visit he does intend to take. Right now it’s the only school he definitely plans to visit, although he added a Stanford as another place hit liked to see, citing the academic appeal of the California school.
When it comes to Indiana, McNeeley doesn’t know a whole lot about the program — that’s what the visit is for. But he does know that it sits in a hoops hotbed, and it’s led by someone who knows what it takes to play in the NBA.
“It’s such a historic basketball state, and coach Mike Woodson, he was in the league longer than I’ve been alive,” McNeeley said.
“He (Woodson) just tells me to keep pushing my game, he loves my versatility. He obviously plays a pro style because he was in the league for so long.”
McNeeley says he plans to pay close attention to Indiana’s playing style during the season, when he’ll see Montverde alums Jalen Hood-Schifino and Malik Reneau in action.
The Texas product is an interesting prospect when it comes to fitting him into a system. He calls himself a point forward, and that’s easy to see when watching him in action this week. McNeeley is effective driving with either hand and he is a good passer who rarely forces the action.
Indiana will need to show how he can fit into what they want to run, and he and his fellow classmates at Montverde will be critical in the sense that they might establish a pattern of products from the elite national program going to IU if all goes well with Hood-Schifino and Reneau. Indiana has also offered 2024 Montverde prospects Derik Queen and Asa Newell.
But step one for Indiana is to make a strong impression when McNeeley comes to campus during his junior year. He’s already taken some local visits to Texas schools and has gotten a sense for what is important to him. What will he be looking for at IU?
“Just the relationship with the coach, how they’re going to play me. It’s hard to tell right now because I’m young, but I’m paying attention to that (playing style) because I’m trying to play at the next-next (NBA) level.
Here are McNeeley’s stat lines during the Nike EYBL Peach Jam through Friday:
- 12 p, 10 r, 8 a, 3 s, 1 b, (4-10 FG / 1-4 3FG)
- 14 p, 14 r, 3 a, 3 s, 1 b (4-16 FG / 1-4 3FG)
- 28 p, 3 r, 1 a (10-15 FG / 3-5 3FG)
- 14 p, 6 r, 5 a, 3 s (5-12 FG / 1-3 3FG)
- 20 p, 8 r, 7 a, 1 s (6-11 FG, 2-4 3 FG)
- 10 p, 7 r, 4 a, 5s, 2b (5-11 FG, 0-2 3FG)
— B/R Hoops (@brhoops) July 23, 2022
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