McNeely talked about the pressures of being the son of a well known AAU coach and how he handles that pressure and takes it in stride. "Yeah of course but he treats me just like all the other players and probably expects more from me than anyone else on our team. I'm always the example he uses in our team meetings which usually cracks everybody up on our team."
This past summer McNeely and his Carolina Celtics teammates had a tremendous season on the AAU circuit. Having won a number of tourneys and placing very high in the majority of the ones they didn't win he spoke about his outlook on the season. "We have played around sixty games and have lost only ten of them. This is sixty games across the country against some of the best competition out there and we have had a lot of success. I feel our entire team has gotten better. The ten we lost we could have won but things didn't go our way but we learned from our losses and we were better the next time out. We never lost two games in a row."
His highlight game of the summer also came at one of those opportune moments. McNeely said, "In Atlanta this summer I had 22 pts going 9/9 from the field with 4 3's against the Georgia Kings in the semi-finals in front of a lot of college coaches which always seem to add a little more pressure on you." The young point guard has worked hard on his game and steadily improved each season thus far.
The saying goes, "don't judge a book by it's cover." The statement applies to the babyfaced McNeely as he's got a superb skill set on the hardwood. Only 5'9 160 pounds the 2009 standout puts forth extra effort each time out which also gets the attention of college coaches but inspires his teammates to give their all as well. That hunger and determination is something that continues to drive McNeely as he constantly tries to put in work to improve his game.
"I need to get faster and stronger and I work on my ball handling and shooting everyday. I know at 5'9 I have to be the fastest player on the floor and I must play tough in your face defense to be able to play at the next level."
Asked about his strong suits on the court he replied, "My vision on the court is really good and I enjoy makng the players around me better. I love to play and I believe that carries over to my attitude on the court. I like to pump my teammates up and I play very aggressive on the defensive end of the floor." The latter of which is something that college coaches highly covet since so many high school players are primarily concerned with offense.
The Green Wave had a deep run in the AAAA playoffs losing to eventual state champions Fort Mill. The rising junior talked about this upcoming season. "Last year at Easley we were stacked with seniors so I'm looking forward to this year so I can show my skills. Tahj Tate and I are going to ball this year. My stats this year in AAU are probably around 10 ppg and 8 apg. We have played a tough schedule in AAU so I'm looking forward to carrying that over to my junior year at Easley." McNeely also shared some goals for this upcoming season at Easley as well. "I'd like to win the region again for our third time and finally getting that state championship for Easley. I personally want to play as hard as I can and hopefully all the hard work I have put in over the years will finally pay off for me in the end. Being named All State would be nice too."
There are a few games that stand out on the Easley schedule for the 2009 point guard and he shared those with us. "Wren is our big rival so always those guys amd maybe Daniel because they have very good guard play."
Colleges have already began to take notice of Joe on the court as he's currently hearing from Charleston Southern, USC Upstate, Western Kentucky, Presbyterian, and Wofford. The early favorite for the 2009 PG is Charleston Southern but things will remain wide open as far as his recruitment goes. McNeely also told us that he's already visited the campuses of Charleston Southern, Wofford, and Clemson.
Up Close & Personal With...Joe McNeely
3 favorite musical artists: Lil Wayne, T-Pain, and The Bee Gees
Favorite movie: 300
Favorite subject in school: History
Favorite food: Chicken Parmesan
Favorite basketball player: Steve Nash
Favorite college and pro team: Clemson Tigers and Phoenix Suns
Dream school: Clemson
In a 3 on 3 tournament, you can have any 2 players in the world you want as your teammates...who would you pick? Trevor Booker and Steve Nash
Would you rather score 30 points and lose or have 0 points and 10 assists and win? You play the game to win!
SCPrepNation.com will have more updates on 2009 Easley High PG Joe McNeely as summer winds down and he makes preparations to help Easley make a run at a AAAA state championship. Stay tuned.