Rich Pitino is on the board! Daquein McNeil, former FIU commit, is following him here to the Gophers, and I am trying to decide how exciting this is. Plenty of background reading on McNeil here from the always excellent Late Night Hoops, so I won't rehash everything, or at least not intentionally, and will try to look at this, like Darth Vader after his helmet was off, with my own eyes.
His ESPN scouting report is positively glowing, describing him as "capable of creating offense off the dribble any time", "capable of getting hot with his jumper", and "a potentially lethal defender" with "good court vision" and "a quick first step." The only real negatives they point out is that he isn't a true point guard, which is fine because everyone else describes him as either a shooting guard or a combo guard, and that he has an inconsistent jumper which pretty much describes most freshman perimeter players.
Their bottom line on him reads as follows, "McNeil has great size, length, quickness, and playmaking ability and
consequently the potential to be a very effective lead guard at the next
level but must continue to polish his skills and develop his basketball
I.Q." Uh, yeah. Sign me up.
Then again, despite being listed as having offers from Louisville and Washington, yet Rivals doesn't have them suggesting that the info from Late Night Hoops about how he had offers fall off might be true. I don't see anything suggesting if it's academic or performance related (although he has said he transferred out of Baltimore to Vermont for academic reasons) so I can't really comment for sure, but it's not all that uncommon for one time highly sought recruit to have his star lose some of it's shine as the years/months go by (see Alex Foster). ESPN rates him as a two star recruit and the 93rd best point guard in the class, while Rivals gives him 3-stars.
So that's what I mean about not sure how excited to be. His style of play sounds like he'll fit right in with what Pitino wants to do, especially the parts about being a potentially lethal defender and being the kind of player who attacks the rim, either to score or to pass. Then again, you have a situation where Pitino needs bodies to fill out the roster, which can lead to sub-par recruits (Maverick -> Hi) and the fact that McNeil may not have had a better offer than Richmond make you wonder if he's basically roster filler who won't ever develop beyond a back-up.
Like everything else this season we are at a point where you just shrug and say who knows. Much as your trust level in Teague reflects how optimistic you were about the Pitino hiring, your trust in Pitino likely affects your optimism on the McNeil signing. One thing is for certain, the Pitino era has now begun.
Also I have a new least favorite kind of driver: the On Ramp Racer. You know this guy. It's rush hour, you're getting on to a freeway and everyone has to stop and form two lines at those lights they have on each side. Generally pretty simple and shockingly organized. Then you get this fucking guy who picks a side, then suddenly realizes if he's in the other lane he'll get to get on the freeway one car early and save himself 15 seconds so he suddenly swerves from one to the other and screws everybody up behind him. And who be mercy unto you if you get two or more of these guys in the same group. It ends up looking like the end of Vegas Vacation but with shitty cars. So hey Mr. On Ramp Racer, next time do everyone a favor and just drive into the ditch which is hopefully filled with alligators and land mines.