Sean McNeil is a part of our Heartland College Sports Big 12 men’s Top 25 returning players countdown as we get closer to the 2021-22 college basketball season opener.
No. 11: Sean McNeil, G, West Virginia
Where he left off: McNeil was an All-Big 12 Honorable Mention selection last season, but in a different season he could have been an All-Big 12 Second Team pick, as he averaged 12.2 points per game. He became one of the best shooters in the conference, as he shot 36.8 percent from the 3-point line and 85.7 percent from the free-throw line. He was West Virginia’s leader in made 3-pointers with 69, and he flat took over a few games last year from the arc.
His 23 points against Syracuse in the NCAA Tournament and that could be a springboard for next season. In the offseason, he declared for the NBA Draft and retained his eligibility. After he received his report card from the NBA, he returned to the Mountaineers for another season.
Where he’s headed: McNeil will start for the Mountaineers in 2021-22 in an effort to help move WVU further than the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament (and to further his own dreams of reaching the NBA). He can do both, especially if he can improve his 3-point percentage. If he brings it up to 40 percent, he’ll be at the tip-top of the conference. The Mountaineers will likely want McNeil to improve his defense (head coach Bob Huggins is already grousing about the team’s lack of overall defensive intensity), something that McBride excelled at last season. McNeil’s scoring average took a near-seven point jump from 2019-20 to 2020-21. He won’t take that sort of jump this season, but what the Mountaineers really need from him is slightly better 3-point shooting and solid defense. And he has the ability to do both.
Top 25 criteria: ONLY players that played in the Big 12 last season were considered. Rankings are based on where players left off at the end of last season, as we are not able to make assumptions about the improvements players have made this offseason.
Big 12 Basketball Preview
Top 25 Returning Players: No. 25 Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua| No. 24 Christian Braun | No. 23 Rondel Walker | No. 22 Umoja Gibson | No. 21 Matthew Alexander-Moncrieffe | No. 20 Nijel Pack | No. 19: Marcus Santos-Silva | No. 18 Mike McGuirl| No. 17 Jalen Bridges | No. 16 Kalib Boone | No. 15 Kevin McCullar | No. 14 Isaac Likekele
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.
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