Another month, another scholarship offer.
What high school athlete wouldn’t love to live that dream?
All of them, of course.
But nobody is living that dream quite as well right now as Isaac McKneely. Particularly since the 6-foot-3 guard will be just a sophomore at Poca High School.
That hasn’t stopped McKneely from getting Division I offers, however, during the consecutive months of May, June and July.
First, there was Stetson University on May 25. Next came Robert Morris on June 16. Then, Marshall University offered him on June 28. And, most recently, Davidson offered on July 7.
So, how did McKneely react to that very first offer?
“Oh, it was an amazing feeling,” he said. “I want to be a college player, obviously. So, when I got that first offer it was just like, ‘Wow, I’m blessed.’ That first offer is one you never forget.”
The intriguing part is that first scholarship offer could have come from Marshall. The Herd’s coaching staff debated whether or not to offer McKneely during Marshall’s summer camp in 2018.
But head coach Danny D’Antoni and his assistants decided discretion might be the better move, rather than drawing attention to McKneely by offering him a scholarship as a ninth-grader. The hope was that he would stay below the recruiting radar.
That didn’t happen, of course.
When former Marshall head coach Donnie Jones was hired at Stetson as head coach and then hired former Marshall player Adam Williams as an assistant … well, the recruiting cat was out of the bag.
Stetson pulled the trigger.
But it was merely the first of many more offers to come.
“I hope so,” said McKneely with a smile.
It’s a foregone conclusion.
In a Marshall summer camp game against Huntington High, McKneely started strong by nailing a pair of quick 3-pointers. But then the athletic Highlanders started forcing him to shoot off the dribble and, suddenly, McKneely was shooting nothing but contested shots.
That’s why he finished 3 for 13 from the floor with 10 points and seven rebounds. What’s more important, however, is McKneely adjusted in Poca’s next game versus Cabell Midland.
Instead of shooting contested shots, he began driving or shooting pull-up jumpers. That opened up his outside shot and McKneely drilled consecutive 3s during the second half to finish with 12 points on 5-for-11 shooting.
McKneely proved he’s already something of a cerebral player. He proved it again when asked what he needs to work on in his game.
“Probably my defense,” said McKneely. “I’ve always been a good offensive player, but I have to improve my defense if I want to go to the next level. And my ball-handling a little bit. I need to work on everything, really. I’m never satisfied, so I’ve just got to keep working.”
Pretty good answer for a still-growing young man.
“I was 6-foot-1 last season,” he said, “but now I’m 6-3.”
More than likely, McKneely will end up being a 6-5 or 6-6 wing player who possesses point-guard skills. That’s a very lucrative combination.
“He’s not a one-trick pony,” said Allen Osborne, veteran Poca coach. “He can shoot it. He can put it on the floor. His defense is improving. I think by the time he is a senior, he’s going to be very, very special.”
The offers have just begun.