Q/A with 2022 four-star Isaac McKneely
Tell me about where you grew up.
I’ve lived in Poca, WV my whole life. It’s a small town of probably not even 1000 people. My school is small, and everyone knows everyone. I love that about this town though. Poca will always be my home no matter what. I’m just a kid from Poca, WV.
Was basketball always a priority in your household? Who put the ball in your hands?
I’ve played basketball my whole life, but I played baseball and football all the way up to highschool as well. Neither of my parents played basketball, so I don’t know how I got started playing, but I fell in love with the game from day one.
When did you start taking the sport seriously?
I’d say I started taking basketball seriously around 6th or 7th grade. I’ve always been really good, but around 6th or 7th is when I really started to work on my game seriously.
Any family members/relatives that played college/pro sports?
Neither of my parents played sports beyond highschool. It’s weird because neither of them played basketball. My dad played football and baseball and my mom played softball. So I’m not sure how I got into basketball.
Describe your game in a sentence or two.
I’m a combo guard and I can score it off the bounce or off catch and shoot. I like to get my teammates involved, and also strive to be a great defender.
What does the game of basketball mean to you? In other words, why does it mean so much to you?
Basketball means so much to me because I just wanna be great. Not many people from a small town in WV go on to play in the NBA or whatever. So I’m just trying to make it big so I can also give back to those who helped me along the way.
How do you feel about your current ranking?
It’s great to go from being unknown to jumping into the top 100, but I’m never satisfied. I’m going to continue to work everyday and keep on moving up.
Tell me your general thoughts on rankings. Do they matter? If so, how much do they matter in the whole scheme of things?
In my opinion they don’t matter. Just look at Duncan Robinson for example. Went from D3 to the NBA. Anyone can make it, whether you’re a highschool star or not.
Do you have a current list of schools you’re focused on?
Yes I’ve narrowed my list to 8 schools back in November. Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisville, North Carolina, Purdue, Virginia, and West Virginia.
What schools reach out to you the most?
The 8 schools I’ve narrowed it down to are all reaching out consistently.
During the recruiting process, does it make a difference how often the head coach reaches out to you (texts/calls)? Does it make you feel that much of a priority?
Yes 100%. I think it’s great that an assistant calls a lot, but ultimately it matters how much the head coach wants me, because he’s the one who will be putting me into the game.
What advice would you give to a college coach in order to do an effective way of recruiting you in the “COVID era”? Any tips or pointers for them to stand out amongst all the other coaches in your phone?
I’d say just doing zoom calls with me, and showing me how I’d fit in their system. Taking clips from their games, and showing how I would look in that kind of offense or whatever is probably most helpful in recruiting during this pandemic.
Do you have someone to guide you through the recruiting process and show you the ropes? If so, who is that person and what advice have they given you?
I have two people in my circle that have been great help in this process. Christian Kezmarsky, my trainer, and Allen Osborne, my highschool coach. Christian has been telling me to really look into these schools to make sure I make the best decision to where I fit in the best. Coach Osborne has always stressed to me to be Humble and Hungry. I’ve been blessed to be in this position, and they’ve been great mentors to me and my family.
What is something you’ve already learned about the recruiting process that you would share with a younger brother/teammate?
I would say just to not rush it at all. Take your time, and make sure you are making the right decision. Also, just have fun with it. Not many people get this opportunity, so just have fun, and don’t let it stress you out.
What schools have you visited so far, either unofficially, officially or virtually?
The only ones in my top 8 that I’ve visited are WVU, Indiana, and Virginia. I hope to get some more visits in once recruiting opens back up. Virtually: West Virginia, Virginia, Indiana, Illinois, Louisville, Purdue.
Are there any schools that are currently recruiting you that have not yet offered that you expect to offer you sometime in the near future?
Kentucky and North Carolina. They both have been in contact with me for a while now, and they made it into my final 8 schools. So I’d say those two.
Is building a stacked recruiting class, and bringing top talent in with you a priority?
Yes, wherever I go, I’m going to compete for a national title. To do that, I’m going to need some players around me, so when I commit somewhere I will for sure be recruiting others to come play with me.
Did you have a dream school growing up?
I didn’t really have a dream school, but of course I always rooted for WVU because that was my home state school.