Cal Hoops Net a Big Pickup for 2017 in PG McNeill

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By Jim McGill, Staff Writer
Posted Jun 22, 2017
If by BearInsider Staff or Contributor, this article is Copyright © 2017 BearInsider.com


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New Cal PG commit Darius McNeill
A temporarily depleted Cal men's basketball roster got a big boost with the commitment of 2017 Westfield (Houston, TX) PG Darius McNeill this morning a month after his decommitment from Iowa State.
"I'm looking forward to coming in as a freshman and making a big impact," said McNeill.

McNeill will come to Cal on Tuesday or Wednesday for his official visit then plans to return home before heading back to Berkeley in July to take classes in the final session.

As for the strengths of his game?

"I'd say I'm really smooth and quick," said McNeill. "I can get out and beat you on the fast break and with my defense and I can force turnovers attacking the passing lanes. I want to guard you full court, all game. I can pull up and beat you with a jumper, or finish strong.

"Coach Jones told me our style of play will be to go up and down the court, with a lot of pressing. That's my style of ball. That's what I like."

The latest Cal commit announced his choice of Cal on Twitter today over a plethora of programs, including Baylor, LSU, Oklahoma Staten North Carolina State and a host of others, saying:

"First and foremost, I would like to thank God for blessing me with the gift and talent to play the game that I love to play so dearly.

"Mom, I want to thank you for being my #1 fan, not only on the court, but off the court, as well. You have loved me, unconditionally supported me and guided me through 18 years of life on this earth.

"To Junior and Coach Peterson; I appreciate all of the wisdom, knowledge, constant pushing, belief in me and continued motivation that you have given me throughout the journey.

"To all of my family members, thank you for all of your support. I love you all!

"I have faith that I have made the correct decision about the college I will be continuing my academic and basketball career.

"I have decided to sign with the University of California Berkeley! #Go Bears."

The 4 star lefty PG, who also is able to capably play the 2, possesses great length and quickness at the point along with the tenacious defensive style that new Cal head coach Wyking Jones highly-values in the type of running, pressing and all-out defensive blitz he prefers to play. McNeill also has solid range and the ability to penetrate and finish with authority at the rim and gives the Bears some good options with the ability to play two ball-handling guards in some sets.

The 6A region Co-MVP played AAU ball with 2018 commit Jacobi Gordon under assistant coach Chris Walker so McNeill's familiarity with the Cal staff should make the transition to Berkeley easier with his arrival for the final summer session.

"That's pretty cool the way it worked out to be able to play with Jacobi," said McNeill. "I never knew we'd be able to play for the same program. We're tight. We work out together and hang out so that will be cool when he gets here."

A 3.3 gpa student, McNeill also noted the importance of the value of a degree from Cal in helping his decision to commit to the Bears.

"A degree from Cal is world-class," said McNeill. "They're right there neck and neck with Stanford when it comes to academics."
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