As the basketball offseason continues and we move into the fall, Land-Grant Holy Land will put out our basketball player and team previews. There will be two previews per week leading all the way into the start of the season, beginning with player previews.
Last time we started off the incoming transfers with Isaac Likekele. This time around, we are taking a look at fellow transfer Sean McNeil from West Virginia.
Name: Sean McNeil
Weight: 205 pounds
High School: Cooper High School, Sinclair Community College (West Virginia University)
Class: Graduate Senior
2021-22 stats: 12.2 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 1.4 APG, 41.4 FG%, 36.8 FG3%, 86.7 FT%
McNeil comes into the Ohio State program as a guy that they will need some production from as the top shooter on the team and one of the conference’s top shooters overall. It has been an interesting journey for McNeil, as he started his career at Sinclair Community College. After averaging almost 30 points per game, McNeil transferred to West Virginia. He was a top 25 JUCO transfer in 2019 when he chose to transfer to a DI program.
At West Virginia, McNeil played in 15 games his freshman season, averaging 5.5 points per game. Over the past two seasons, he has averaged 12.2 points per game both seasons while starting all but six games. He averaged almost 34 minutes played last season, so he is used to playing a large number of minutes.
Two of the main reasons McNeil chose Ohio State was the prestige and the coaching staff.
“I feel like there’s other parts of my game I still haven’t been able to tap into yet,” he told Adam Jardy of The Columbus Dispatch. ”I want to be able to prove on the biggest stage what I’m fully capable of, what I have in my arsenal. I want to have the freedom and belief the coaching staff believes in me to maybe make a mistake or two and allow me to play through it with freedom and confidence.”
McNeil added, “I just really enjoyed the coaching staff; the hospitality was great. I got to meet some of the guys that they currently have, and I felt like our bond was already there. We had a connection already. Columbus is a great city. Ohio State has had a lot of success here with basketball as of late and I’m excited to get to Columbus and continue that and build on it.”
He also touched on what he brings to the team that isn’t just shooting the ball.
“Obviously what I bring is shooting and scoring, but being a playmaker, being able to come off ball screens and just being a leader,” McNeil said to Jardy. “I’m an older guy. That’s what they’re going to look at me at. I’ll have a lot of responsibility and there’s a big role to fill, but I’m ready for it. That’s a challenge I wanted to accept.”
McNeil is someone who has accepted every challenge he has been given, and this season at Ohio State will be no different.
McNeil is going to be one of the top scorers on the team and will be a Buckeye fan favorite. He is a great shooter, solid defender and plays physical. Fans will be quick to compare him to Justin Ahrens, since he is known for the deep ball, but he plays very different than Ahrens and that will be apparent quickly.
On a team that will need to be good on defense, his physicality and prowess on that end of the floor is going to be important. Similar to a guy like Likekele, McNeil can defend multiple positions and is willing to play both sides of the ball. And of course, him shooting the leather off the ball would not hurt.
Even though he played 30 minutes per game two seasons ago and almost 34 minutes last season, he likely will not play that much as a Buckeye this upcoming season. Ohio State is deep and there are a lot of mouths to feed. It is also not a guarantee that he starts, but there is definitely a chance he starts at the two spot if they want to bring Bruce Thornton off the bench and put Likekele at the one to begin the year.
I expect him to play 25 minutes per game. Because of what he can do outside of shooting, even if he goes into a slump he can still be very valuable on the court, playing defense and helping set up the offense.
Regardless, McNeil is easily the best shooter on a team of fairly unproven shooters. They will need him to be pretty consistent to be able to strike fear in the hearts of the defenses and keep them honest. He was very consistent last season, shooting almost 37 percent on a high volume and he made at least one 3-pointer in 29 of his 32 games played.