Nobody could blame Isaac McKneely if he were acting a bit woebegone.
After all, look at what has happened to the Poca High School basketball star during the last four months.
First, the 6-foot-4 rising junior didn’t get to take on Logan High School and star Wildcats player David Early (Marshall University recruit) in the Class AA regional finals on March 12.
Then, McKneely didn’t get the opportunity to play in the state high school boys basketball tournament the following week in the Charleston Coliseum.
And now the major-college prospect isn’t getting the exposure or experience he was counting on by playing AAU basketball.
No, things definitely haven’t gone McKneely’s way. He hasn’t gotten any breaks. So what did the Poca star do?
Pout? Hang his head? Hum the “if it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all” song?
None of the above.
Instead, McKneely has kept his chin up, stayed positive and, in turn, actually has made the most of his opportunities.
“Obviously having no AAU has sucked, but coaches have still been keeping their eye on me,” said McKneely. “Coaches have had to change the way they recruit, so a lot of schools have been asking for game film instead of watching in person because they can’t.”
The University of Louisville is a good example.
McKneely was on a Zoom call with Louisville head coach Chris Mack and assistant Dino Gaudio (a native of Wheeling) recently when they gave him some good news.
The rising junior combo guard, who is a member of the Class of 2022, listened intently as the UL coaches told him they had been studying his game and then offered McKneely a scholarship.
“They told me they really like my game and they did their homework on me,” McKneely told Cardinal Authority, a University of Louisville fan website. “So they told me they wanted to see me in a Louisville jersey one day and he offered me.”
Shortly thereafter, McKneely received his 12th scholarship offer, this time from the highly respected University of Maryland.
“They’re a big-time program,” McKneely told 247sports.
McKneely’s offers include Stetson, Marshall, West Virginia, Kansas State, Maryland, Louisville, Virginia Tech, Xavier, Davidson, Liberty, Ohio and Robert Morris.
Remember, he still has two more years of prep basketball.
In other words, the coronavirus pandemic has hindered a lot of people’s lives, but McKneely isn’t one of them.
“Recruiting for me hasn’t slowed down at all even with no AAU,” he said. “This past weekend I worked out with Cam and Puff Johnson. It was definitely good for me working out with those two. Cam is an NBA player for the Phoenix Suns and Puff is committing to UNC [University of North Carolina]. So, it was definitely a good experience and I hope to do it again sometime soon.”
The elder Johnson is a 6-8, 205-pound small forward, who is playing his first season in the NBA. Younger brother Donovan “Puff” Johnson is a 6-7, 185-pound small forward and member of the Tar Heels recruiting class.
The workout was courtesy of Christian Kezmarsky, who operates “CK4basketball” in Pittsburgh. CK, as he is called, has been instrumental in McKneely’s basketball progress during this coronavirus respite.
“I have to say I’m thankful for Christian Kezmarsky,” said McKneely. “He works out small groups at a time or sometimes like just me. He’s the one who worked me out and set up the workout with Cam and Puff. I couldn’t be where I am without CK.”
And just exactly where is McKneely?
The rising junior is now ranked No. 77 in the Rivals Top 100 … and climbing.
Nothing slows down Isaac McKneely.