With the firing of Tubby Smith and the subsequent hiring of Richard Pitino, the Gophers lost their only two committed players leaving them with four scholarships available for the fall of 2013. One of those scholarships has reportedly been spoken for.
Daquein McNeil is a combo guard out of Baltimore who was formerly committed to Florida International. According to the Rivals site, The Recruit Scoop, he has decided to make the trip to north to Minnesota. GopherIllustrated's Ryan James also spoke with McNeil's coach and he confirmed that McNeil did indeed commit and will be signing his letter of intent soon. In the Recruit Scoop article it was McNeil's relationship with Coach Kimani Young that made this decision an easy one.
"The outstanding job that Coach Kimani Young did in recruiting Daquein at FIU and outlining the staff's vision for his development made his decision to head to Minneapolis and become a Golden Gopher extremely simple and easy."
McNeil is 6'3", 175 lbs and had a 3-star rating according to Rivals. He reportedly had offers from Oklahoma, VCU, Rutgers, Richmond and UAB. Below is the full ESPN Scouts eval...
Strengths: McNeil is a long lead guard with instinctive playmaking ability. He has a quick first step and is capable of creating offense off the dribble at virtually anytime. He has good court vision for a young guard, keeps his head up in the open floor, and is capable of getting hot with his jumper. He is also a potentially lethal defender with his long arms and quick feet. Physically, he has a good frame with broad shoulders and emerging strength.
Although McNeil sees the floor well, he isn't a true point guard as he struggles to play without the ball in his hands and doesn't yet see the game more than one pass or dribble at a time. He has an inconsistent shooting stroke with varying release points but still has a tendency to settle for contested shots from the perimeter.
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.
Sounds like we got a penetrating guard who may be an excellent defender. This appears to be the type of player who is a perfect fit for Pitino's system.
Below is a McNeil highlight video, but first this is our current scholarship situation. We technically have 3 available to use this year, but unless we secure a senior transfer who will only use that scholly for 1 season (cough...Tarik Black), it is widely assumed that we'll bank at least one for next year.