Indiana coach Tom Crean isn't finished now that he landed the major signing of Cody Zeller. Crean and the Hoosiers are well-established with the talent-rich Indiana Elite travel team, and the program could regain a pulse soon. Rivals.com analyst Jerry Meyer tackles the Indiana question, along with...[details]
HEADER JEREL McNEAL Shooting Guard Marquette University Golden Eagles #22 6:01.4-191 Chicago, Illinois Hillcrest High School
OVERVIEW McNeal was part of a college basketball rarity by helping form the team's core -- for four years -- with stars Wesley Matthews and Dominic James.
The trio proved to be highly effective scorers, as McNeal finished his career as the school's all-time leader with 1,985 points, James ranked third on the career list with 1,749 points and Matthews placed eighth at 1,673. In 2008-09, McNeal (693 points, second on the school season-record list) and Matthews (641 points, fifth on the annual record chart) became the first Golden Eagle tandem to score over 600 points in the same season.
McNeal also holds the school career records for games played (130), most steals (287) and most field goals made (726). He ranks 10th all-time with 164 3-point field goals made, ninth with 368 successful free throws and eighth with 455 assists. His 86 3-pointers in 2008-09 are good for fifth on the school season-record chart while his 236 overall field goals that year are tied for sixth.
At Hillcrest High School, McNeal led his team to the sectional final during his senior season by averaging 20.0 points, 9.0 rebounds, 6.0 steals and 4.0 assists. He was named a third-team All-American by Parade Magazine and ranked as the state of Illinois' top senior by the Illinois Prep Bullseye. He was a first-team All-State pick by the Associated Press, Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times. Prior to his arrival at Marquette, he played for the East Squad in the 2005 Roundball Classic, held at the United Center in Chicago.
In his first season at Marquette, McNeal earned Big East Conference All-Rookie Team honors. He was one of three players on the team to start in every game, averaged 11.1 points, ranking third on the team, and finished second on the squad with an average of 4.5 rebounds per game. He led the team in steals with 64 and passed Doc Rivers for the freshman season steals record. When he scored 10 or more points, Marquette compiled a 14-7 record that season.
As a sophomore, McNeal garnered All-Big East Conference second-team honors and was selected the Big East Defensive Player of the Year. The Defensive All-American choice by CollegeInsider.com added NABC All-District honors, as he recorded 76 steals, fifth most in Marquette season history. He also averaged 14.7 points and 4.8 rebounds in 29 games.
In 2007-08, McNeal was one of two Marquette players to start all 35 games, as he was again named All-Big East second team, in addition to receiving NABC All-District XI honors. He claimed MU's Deflection King Award, Olouma Nnamaka Consistency Award and Most Valuable Player Award. He ranked 30th in the nation in steals per game (2.2) and finished among the league leaders in scoring (14th, 14.9), assists (14th, 3.54 per game) and steals (2nd, 2.17 per game).
In his final season, McNeal became the sixth player in school history to record over 1,500 points and 500 rebounds in a career. The All-American and All-Big East Conference choice was also the recipient of the team's Golden Eagle Toughness Award, in addition to being named Marquette's MVP. The 2009 Oscar Robertson Trophy finalist was selected as the USBWA District V Player of the Year. He scored 693 points (19.8 per game), the second-highest season total in school history, adding 71 steals to go with 159 rebounds and 137 assists.
2008-09 SEASON Earned All-American first-team honors from Foxsports.com and second-team accolades from The NBA Draft Report, Associated Press and The Sporting News...Team MVP and recipient of the squad's Golden Eagle Toughness Award...All-Big East Conference first-team pick and a finalist for the John R. Wooden Award, Lowe's Senior Class Award and Oscar Robertson...Selected USBWA District V Player of the Year and was a first-team All-District V pick...Named to the NABC District V first-team...Started all 35 games at the two-guard position, leading the team with a career-high 693 points (second in school history), averaging 19.8 points per game...Shot 44.2% from the field (236-of-534), 39.8% from 3-point range (86-of-216) and 73.8 percent from the foul line (135-of-183)...Scored in double figures in all but the Presbyterian game and reached 20 points or better 21 times, including a string of nine straight 20-point performances...Had one double-double performance vs. Georgetown...Added 159 rebounds (4.5 per game), 137 assists (3.9 per game), 71 steals (tied for eighth on the school single-season record list) and 21 blocked shots (0.6 per game)...Charged with 103 turnovers and 87 personal fouls.
ANALYIS Tallied 20 points and five assists vs. Houston Baptist and netted 17 points with six assists vs. Chicago State...Recorded 22 points and five steals vs. Milwaukee and hit four 3-pointers and finished with 20 points, five assists, four steals and a season-high eight rebounds vs. Texas Southern...Tallied 16 points and six rebounds vs. Dayton (11/29) and was name to the Chicago Invitational all-tournament team after averaging 16.5 points and 5.3 rebounds per game, in addition to 17 assists and eight steals in four games...Finished with 14 points and five assists vs. Central Michigan...Shot 55.6 percent (10-of-18) from the field and netted 19 of his 26 points in the second half in a 61-58 win over Wisconsin, as he scored 14 straight points in the second half for MU and finished with seven boards...Had five three-pointers and finished with 19 points, five rebounds and five assists vs. Western Carolina...Scored a team-high 20 points with four steals and two blocks vs. North Carolina State...Handed out seven assists and scored a game-high 24 points to lead MU past Villanova...Scored a game-high 26 points on 9-of-10 shooting from the field, including 7-of-7 (100.0 percent) from beyond the arc to set a new MU record for single-game three-point percentage vs. Cincinnati...Notched 14 of his 16 points in the second half, while going 7-of-8 from the foul line vs. Rutgers...Scored a game-high 26 points vs. West Virginia, in addition to seven rebounds and three steals while playing all 40 minutes...Chipped in 25 points and six assists vs. Providence...Tallied a game-high 21 points and season-high six steals vs. DePaul...Poured in a team- and personal season-high 27 points at Notre Dame and had his first double-double of the season with 26 points and 11 assists -- both game highs -- and added six rebounds, five steals and three blocks vs. Georgetown...Named Big East Player of the Week for the third time this season on February 2nd, as he scored 26 points and recorded six assists, five steals and a career-high four blocks at DePaul... Scored a game-high 22 points at USF and netted a team-high 23 points with seven assists at Villanova, as he passed George Thompson on MU's all-time scoring list with his three-pointer at the 6:12 mark of the second half vs. VU...Registered 20 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and five steals vs. St. John's...Had 13 points, seven assists, six rebounds and five steals vs. Seton Hall...Posted 22 points, six rebounds and a game-high seven assists at Georgetown...Netted 21 points in the second half vs. Connecticut and settled for a team-high 26 points...Scored a game-high 23 points at Pittsburgh and tallied a game-high 25 points vs. Syracuse...Had a game-high four assists and added 11 points vs. St. John's and scored 15 points with a team-high five assists vs. Villanova...Went 7-of-9 from the foul line and finished with 14 points vs. Utah State...Matched a career-high with 30 points vs. Missouri while shooting 13-of-15 from the foul line, setting new personal highs in free throws attempted and free throws made, as he also tallied five rebounds and game-high four assists vs. the Tigers.
2007-08 SEASON All-Big East Conference and NABC All-District XI second-team choice...Earned the team's Deflection King Award, Olouma Nnamaka Consistency Award and Most Valuable Player Award...Ranked 30th in the nation in steals per game (2.2), as his 76 total thefts tied for fifth on the school season-record list...Finished among the league leaders in scoring (14th, 14.9 per game, 523 total), assists (14th, 3.54 per game, 124 total) and steals (2nd, 2.17 per game)... One of two players to start all 35 games...Made 198-of-434 field goals (45.6%), 35-of-115 3-pointers (30.4%) and 92-of-131 free throws (70.2%)...Grabbed 171 rebounds (4.9 per game) and blocked 15 shots...Had 98 turnovers and 109 personal fouls that included four game disqualifications...Scored in double figures 28 times, including nine performances with at least 20 points.
2006-07 SEASON All-Big East Conference second-team pick and chosen the league's Defensive Player of the Year, in addition to being selected to the All-American Defensive team by Rivals.com and CollegeInsider.com...NABC All-District XI second-team choice...Twice named to the Big East Weekly Honor Roll (Dec. 27 and Jan. 29)...Recorded 76 assists, fifth most in Marquette season history...In 29 games, he scored 426 points (14.7 per game) on 154-of-369 field goals (41.7 percent), 30-of-96 treys (31.3%) and 88-of-129 free throws (68.2%)...Had 138 rebounds (4.8 per game), 109 assists (3.8 per game) and 16 blocked shots (0.6 per game), but also had 118 turnovers, 102 personal fouls and six game disqualifications.
2005-06 SEASON Named to the Big East Conference All-Rookie Team...One of three Marquette players to start in every game this season...Averaged 11.1 points per game (third on the team with 343 total points) and ranked second on the squad with 4.5 rebounds per game (140)...Led the team in steals with 64 and passed Doc Rivers for the freshman season steals record... When McNeal scored 10 or more points, Marquette was 14-7 this season...Chipped in with 85 assists (2.7 per game) and 14 blocked shots.
CAREER NOTES McNeal holds the school record by playing in 130 games, topping the previous mark of 127 by Ousmane Barro (2004-08)...His 1,985 points scored (15.3 per game) broke the old Marquette all-time record of 1,773 points by George Thompson (1966-69)...Made 726-of-1,649 field goal attempts, surpassing the old school career-record of 674 field goals made by Bo Ellis (1973-77)...His 369 free throws made (515 attempts, 71.7 percent) rank ninth in school history and his 164 3-pointers made (473 tries, 34.7 percent) rank 10th all-time...His 287 steals broke the old Marquette career record of 272 by Michael Wilson (1978-82)...Scored 693 points in 2008-09, ranking behind Dwyane Wade (710, 2002-03) on the school season-record list...His 236 field goals made in 2008-09 are the sixth-best season total in school annals...His 86 3-pointers made that year rank fifth on the Golden Eagles' annual record chart...Had 76 steals in both his sophomore and junior campaigns, ranking fifth on school's record list...Joined Wesley Matthews (641 points) as the first Marquette tandem to score over 600 points in the same season (2008-09).
HIGH SCHOOL Attended Hillcrest (Chicago, Ill.) High School, leading his team to the sectional final during his senior season by averaging 20.0 points, 9.0 rebounds, 6.0 steals and 4.0 assists...Was named a third-team All-American by Parade Magazine and ranked as the state of Illinois' top senior by the Illinois Prep Bullseye...First-team All-State pick by the Associated Press, Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times.
INJURY REPORT No injuries reported.
OTHER TOURNAMENTS/TEAMS SUMMER LEAGUE: Played for the East Squad in the 2005 Roundball Classic, held at the United Center in Chicago.
PERSONAL Graduated in May, 2009 with a degree in Communications Studies...Son of Merlyn and Edward McNeal...Born 6/01/87...Resides in Chicago, Illinois.
SCOUTING REPORT Positives: One of the premier defensive players in the college game, McNeal lacks the ideal size you look for in a shooting guard, but he is a physically tough defender with the lateral agility, wingspan (6 feet, 7 1/4 inches), standing reach (8-3 1/2) and court speed (3.25 sprint) to stay in front of his man...He is one of the most disruptive players his size in terms of deflecting shots and causing havoc in the passing lanes (owns three of the team's top eight single-game steals performances in a season and his 287 total steals are a school record)...Has great spring in his step, staying on the balls of his feet to generate explosion needed to mirror the perimeter shooter...Has long arms and stays very tight on the shooter and coming up with the timely steal...Scrappy player on the boards, will not hesitate to "bang heads" with bigger forwards, evident by his 608 rebounds (4.7 per game) in 130 career games...He has the hand quickness to get in and deflect the ball without drawing tick-tack fouls and loves to apply pressure on defense...Could be a better facilitator but is a decent passer and good ball handler...Has the low center gravity needed to keep the shooter in front of him and good recovery quickness when initially beaten...Has the ability to get to the rim after catch-and-shoot situations and excels at scoring coming off screens or shooting off the dribble...Relies a lot on his pull-up jumper, but greatly improved his long range accuracy as a senior, completing 39.8 percent of his perimeter shots in 2008-09 after entering that season as a 30 percent shooter from 3-point range...With his quick release, he can come off a stationary dribble and shoot in one, easy motion...Good finisher around the basket, using his body nicely to draw contact, but is just a 72 percent free throw shooter...Sets his feet properly and has good balance executing his spot-up jumper...Has the quick first step to lead the charge on the fast break and while he is right-hand dominant, he showed better ability to connect with his off-hand, especially in transition play...Much better shooter when he is on the move, as he thrives when driving to the basket, where he shows good aggression getting past more physical forwards with his inside game foot quickness.
Negatives: Lacks the size you look for in a shooting guard...For all of his defensive ability, he can be a liability with the ball and had a high number of turnovers...Good defender, but he gambled quite a bit attacking the ball (375 personal fouls and 15 game disqualifications in 130 games)...Until his senior season, he was a liability shooting from long range...Needs to improve his jump shot -- has a quick release, but his feet rarely ever leave the floor...Must also refine his shooting technique, as he will take off-balance shots and doesn't keep his legs squarely beneath him...Must show better fluidity fading back to create space for his shot...Tough inside shooter, but it is rare to see him bait his man with pump fakes or hesitation moves.
Compares To: CHARLIE BELL, Milwaukee -- Defense is McNeal's meal ticket, but he has also shown that he has no fear scoring over bigger men with his physical inside game. While he's short, he has long arms and based on his natural skills is caught between the point and shooting guard positions. Can be a good passer but lacks great court vision, often driving with his head down, losing sight of open teammates. He was a streaky perimeter shooter until his senior year, but has the ability to come off screens and shoot off the dribble.