Virginia Basketball Recruiting Q&A: New Commit Isaac McKneely

Neither of his parents played basketball – his mother played softball and his father played football and baseball – but Isaac McKneely has loved the sport since the age of four. Through the combination of passion and skill, McKneely has become a star guard at Poca High School in West Virginia and one of the most highly regarded prospects in the class of 2022. This past Saturday, the 6’4”, 185-pound junior revealed he will be taking his talents to the University of Virginia to play for head coach Tony Bennett.

The prized 4-star prospect, Virginia’s first commitment in the class of 2022 and first Cavalier men’s basketball commitment from West Virginia in 40 years, is the subject of our latest “Q&A” feature, where he discusses how he made his college decision, his recruitment, basketball and more.


Sabre Associate Editor Chris Horne: Congratulations on making your college decision! How special was this past weekend for you and your family?

ISAAC MCKNEELY: “I could’ve never dreamed I’d be where I am today, committing to Virginia. It definitely was an interesting weekend. I tweeted on Monday (Jan. 25) that I was going to commit. I was a little nervous, although I didn’t think there would be a lot of suspense because I saw some predictions that I was going to pick Virginia, so I thought most knew. When I tweeted on Saturday some people were still surprised, but I was still getting all love, even from fans of schools I didn’t commit to. A lot of kids dream of being in this position … I’m so blessed.”

Sabre Associate Editor Chris Horne: Did you keep the Virginia coaches in suspense? Or did you tell Coach Bennett of your plans beforehand?

MCKNEELY: “I think the Thursday (Jan. 21) before I tweeted on Monday was when I told Coach Bennett I was committing. I took the weekend and called all the other coaches and let them know I was going to commit to Virginia. I’d rather they find out from me directly than any other way.”

Sabre Associate Editor Chris Horne: How difficult was your decision and what separated Virginia?

MCKNEELY: “It was going to be a really tough decision no matter what, but especially in a year where I couldn’t take visits. It was a really tough decision. I had really good schools recruiting me and I had really good relationships. Ultimately, Virginia was the place for me. Our high school, we have been doing what they do for a while. Coach Bennett personally recruiting me was big. I spoke with Coach (Kyle) Getter here and there, but Coach Bennett was the one recruiting me and that meant a lot. We are a religious family and Coach Bennett is a religious person, so that meant a lot. There is the culture there, the Five Pillars, the family atmosphere … just everything.”

Sabre Associate Editor Chris Horne: I noticed a number of former Hoos reaching out to you following your decision, like Justin Anderson and Ty Jerome. UVA color analyst Jimmy Miller, who starred as a prep player in West Virginia before attending UVA, tweeted about your decision.