Ohio State lands West Virginia transfer guard Sean McNeil
Ohio State has bolstered its backcourt with the addition of West Virginia transfer guard Sean McNeil.
A three-year player who started the last two seasons for the Mountaineers, the 6-3, 205-pound McNeil averaged 12.2 points per game in each of the last two seasons. He joins the Buckeyes with one year of eligibility remaining.
"I feel like there’s other parts of my game I still haven’t been able to tap into yet," he told The Dispatch. "I want to be able to prove on the biggest stage what I’m fully capable of, what I have in my arsenal. I want to have the freedom and belief the coaching staff believes in me to maybe make a mistake or two and allow me to play through it with freedom and confidence."
McNeil announced his commitment via social media after visiting the Buckeyes during the weekend. His visit wrapped up Sunday afternoon.
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"I just really enjoyed the coaching staff," McNeil said. "The hospitality was great. I got to meet some of the guys that they currently have and I felt like our bond was already there. We had a connection already. Columbus is a great city. Ohio State has had a lot of success here with basketball as of late and I’m excited to get to Columbus and continue that and build on it."
While at Ohio State, McNeil said he got to spend time at coach Chris Holtmann's house, where he got to know sixth-year forward Justice Sueing and third-year center Zed Key.
A native of Union, Kentucky, McNeil was ranked the No. 54 overall transfer and a four-star prospect according to EvanMiya.com. He is the second transfer to commit to the Buckeyes during the offseason, joining Wright State's Tanner Holden. He is ranked No. 73 nationally and also a four-star prospect.
As a third-year player, McNeil shot 36.8% from 3-point range and averaged 2.5 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 32 games for West Virginia. He also committed 1.1 fouls per 40 minutes, the third-lowest mark in the nation according to KenPom.com. McNeil also averaged a career-high 33.6 minutes per game.
During the second round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament, McNeil scored 23 points on 7-of-13 shooting from 3-point range as No. 3 seed West Virginia lost to No. 11 seed Syracuse, 75-72.
"Obviously what I bring is shooting and scoring, but being a playmaker, being able to come off ball screens and just being a leader," McNeil said when asked about his envisioned role this season. "I’m an older guy. That’s what they’re going to look at me at. I’ll have a lot of responsibility and there’s a big role to fill, but I’m ready for it. That’s a challenge I wanted to accept."
He has also played against Ohio State: During his first season with West Virginia, he scored 6 points in 12 minutes as the Mountaineers beat the Buckeyes, 67-59, in a game played Dec. 29, 2019, at Cleveland's Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse
"Ohio State was a heck of a team," he said. "It was a physical game. It was a brawl. That’s something that I think will translate over well for me because obviously we play physical here at West Virginia."
Prior to signing with West Virginia, attended McNeil Sinclair Community College in Dayton, where he averaged 29.7 points per game, tops among junior college Division II players.
McNeil's addition comes two days after graduate forward Seth Towns told The Dispatch that he will return for a seventh season with the Buckeyes, who are now starting to solidify their roster after losing multiple players to graduation, the NBA draft and the transfer portal.
Ohio State remains in the hunt for a post player via the portal to finalize its roster for the 2022-23 season.
With the additions of Holden, Towns and now McNeil, CBSSports' Jon Rothstein has moved Ohio State to No. 20 in his preseason rankings.