Isaac McKneely, a 6’4”, 185-pound shooting guard prospect out of Poca (W.V.), is taking his talents to the University of Virginia. The consensus 4-star junior has announced his verbal commitment to the Hoos over scholarship offers from Illinois, Indiana, Louisville, Purdue and West Virginia, among many others, as well as heavy interest from Kentucky and North Carolina.
— Isaac McKneely (@IsaacMcKneely) January 30, 2021
UVA is getting a prospect who has earned high acclaim from national recruiting outlets for his talent, as well as high marks from those close to him for his character. On the court, the standout prospect made 45% of his 3s while averaging 22 points per game for the Dots during his sophomore season. He is currently rated the No. 57 junior in the nation and a 4-star prospect by Rivals.com, while 247Sports.com ranks him as a 4-star and the No. 62 prospect in the class of 2022.
Describing McKneely’s development over the past year, Poca head boys varsity basketball coach Allen Osborne said in this West Virginia Metro News article that “Isaac went from 6-foot-2, 150 pounds last year to 6-4, 185 right now. So his body is developing. He has gotten bigger, stronger and quicker. Most of the time he is working on his skill development. He is working out at home and in the gyms. He is dedicated and wants to be a great player. His goal is to go somewhere and play immediately.
“The good thing is, we have him for two more years.”
Coach Osborne, CK4 Basketball Training founder Christian Kezmarsky and others have praised McKneely’s character.
“He is a great kid,” Osborne said in the same article noted above. “He’s a 4.0 student and is focused and humble.”
Big weekend for my guy @IsaacMcKneely! Not sure I’ve ever met a kid more deserving for everything coming his way. Great player on the court, even better kid off of it
So happy for him and his family. 15 hours or so until the world knows where he’s suiting up 👀🙏🏼
— Christian Kezmarsky (@ck4basketball) January 29, 2021
— Rance A Berry (@RevRance5) January 30, 2021
The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in a recruiting Dead Period since last spring, preventing recruits from taking official and unofficial visits. McKneely was able to visit UVA twice unofficially during the 2019-20 season, though, taking in a November home win over Columbia and the regular season finale victory over Louisville.
Had a great time at UVA today, thankful for the opportunity! pic.twitter.com/lzfZVGoX08
— Isaac McKneely (@IsaacMcKneely) March 8, 2020
McKneely becomes the first member of Virginia basketball’s class of 2022. We haven’t analyzed a full game, but based on his highlights the initial projection is that McKneely will likely be used in a Kyle Guy/Joe Harris type of role. His shooting ability stands out, but he has some explosion athletically. Moreover, he has said multiple times in other articles that UVA is a great fit for him. He has that “blue collar” feel to him, so look for him to be ready to compete on both ends on the court, which obviously is a must to play for Tony Bennett.
— Isaac McKneely (@IsaacMcKneely) August 27, 2020
As far as 2022 recruiting is concerned, the Cavaliers have two other known scholarship offers out, to St. Anne’s-Belfield (Charlottesville, VA) 6’6” wing Justin Taylor and skilled 6’9” forward Isaac Traudt of Nebraska. Below is a look at UVA’s scholarship projection in the 2022-23 season with McKneely included.
Projected Scholarships, 2022-23 Season
Point Guards: Reece Beekman (Jr)
Wings: Casey Morsell (Sr), Carson McCorkle (Jr), Jabri Abdur-Rahim (Jr), Taine Murray (Soph), Isaac McKneely (Fr)
Combo Forwards: Justin McKoy (Sr)
Posts: Francisco Caffaro (R-Sr), Kadin Shedrick (R-Jr)
If this projection holds, UVA would have four scholarships still available for the 2022-23 season. So why so little offers out in the class? Three reasons …
– We have yet to see how Virginia will close out 2021 recruiting. The likeliest scenario is that Taine Murray is the only addition, but we will see.
– The transfer market promises to be very active this spring, so I suspect Bennett wants to have a scholarship or two available for transfers.
– The NCAA declared a free year of eligibility for anyone playing in the 2020-21 season, meaning Kihei Clark, Trey Murphy III, and Kody Stattmann could have an extra year at Virginia. We don’t know yet how this will impact the roster, but it is certainly something to keep an eye on.