Class of 2024 5-star forward Liam McNeeley played in Indiana this week when his Montverde Academy team traveled to LaPorte for an NIBC event.
The Daily Hoosier caught up with McNeeley on Thursday evening in LaPorte to get the latest on his recruitment after Montverde rallied to defeat fellow national power Sunrise Christian. McNeeley made four straight late game free throws to help Montverde clinch the win.
McNeeley is a 6-foot-7 forward from Plano, Texas. Indiana offered him last April. According to the 247Sports Composite, McNeeley is the No. 20 overall prospect in the class of 2024. He is starting for Montverde as a junior and averaging 14.8 points per contest.
Here is our Q&A with McNeeley.
TDH: You’ve been at Montverde for several months now. What are you happiest about when it comes to your development?
McNeeley: “Really it’s just the mental aspect of the game, like learning how to present yourself at big events like this, but most importantly just playing with other great players, and playing against great players every single day. We’ll be in practice dogging it out against each other, and it’s just obviously going to get me better. With me, I can play and guard a bunch of different positions. I love it there, just the competitive fire the team has.”
TDH: You’ve told me before you consider yourself a point forward. What are you looking for when you watch college basketball and how teams can utilize that unique skillset?
McNeeley: “The floor is more spaced in college than it is in high school, so it’s easier to break your defender down off ball screens. I feel like I can come off ball screens and set ball screens. So I’m just looking for teams that can utilize me either way.”
TDH: When you watch Indiana, do you see things that they’re doing that fit your game?
McNeeley: “I do, they play an NBA style with Coach Woodson. And that’s where I want to go. They’ve got a good style.”
TDH: You and Derik Queen came to Indiana for a visit together. What was the story behind taking that visit together?
McNeeley: “Derik is one of my best friends, and we were both being recruited by Indiana, so we just thought it would be fun to take an official visit together. Malik (Reneau) and Fino (Jalen Hood-Schifino) went to Montverde last year, and they kind of showed us the ropes and showed us how it goes around there.”
TDH note: Queen also plays for Montverde and is also a class of 2024 5-star. Queen and McNeeley visited Indiana in September.
TDH: That visit was a few months ago. What still stands out to you about the visit? Is that a place where you can see yourself?
McNeeley: “The coaching staff, their energy at practice was so intense. They were all over the players and it was intense. It was a really good experience, and Assembly Hall is so big, it’s crazy. The fans are crazy too, and that’s not the same with every school that’s recruiting me right now.”
TDH: You and Derik seem to complement each other very well on the court. Do you talk about playing together in college?
McNeeley: “We have. We’re getting recruited by a couple of the same schools. We haven’t like sat down and talked about in depth, but everybody dreams about playing with one of your best friends.”
TDH: What do you like about Indiana?
McNeeley: “The energy that Indiana has as a state and school is just crazy. The fans show so much love, the coaches show so much love. It’s hard to not like Indiana.”
TDH: What are your thoughts on Mike Woodson?
McNeeley: “He’s a basketball genius. He’s coached and been in the league for longer than I’ve been alive. He knows what it takes to get there and stay there, and that’s what I’m trying to do. Coach (Brian) Walsh is in charge of recruiting me and he’s been great too. We talk almost every day. I’ve formed a great relationship with both Coach Woodson and Coach Walsh.”
TDH: What are the most important things you are looking for in a college program right now?
McNeeley: “Obviously a great basketball school that’s going to help get me to the NBA, and also a great academic school, because that’s important to me. But most important, a coach that cares about me as much off the court as he does on the court. Playing style and teammates will be important too.”
McNeeley says he doesn’t have any further visits planned right now, and probably won’t take any until his junior high school season is over this spring.
“I’ve let most schools know I’m just focused on the season right now,” McNeeley said.
He added that he doesn’t have a specific timeline in mind right now when it comes to making a college decision.
McNeeley said Michigan, Oklahoma and Arkansas are the three other main schools he’s hearing from right now. He spoke briefly about all three:
- Arkansas – “I really like Coach (Eric) Musselman’s energy. They also have two players from Dallas, Anthony Black and Jordan Walsh. I grew up watching them play so it’s just cool to see them on the big screen playing for Arkansas.”
- Michigan – “Juwan Howard, I’ve talked to him on the phone a couple times, really cool dude, really personable, I like talking to him.”
- Oklahoma – “Coach (Porter) Moser, I’ve been talking to him for almost two years now. Second year there, excited to see what he can do.”
The Daily Hoosier –“Where Indiana fans assemble when they’re not at Assembly”