March 20th, 2017

Future Knight Sean McNeil led Cooper to state final


Paul Najjar

Senior Writer

Future Knight Sean McNeil led Cooper to state final
Cooper High School standout and Bellarmine commit Sean McNeil / cover: McNeil (right) with fellow BU commit C.J. Fleming / credit: Bellarmine athletics

With the Bellarmine Knights men's basketball team in Sioux Falls, S.D. for the NCAA Division II Elite Eight, coach Scott Davenport had to love the performance from BU commit Sean McNeil in the Sweet 16 this past weekend.

McNeil enjoyed a stellar four games in leading his Cooper Jaguars to the Sweet 16 state final. The Jaguars lost to Bowling Green 67-56 Sunday afternoon in the championship game.

McNeil, a 6-foot-4 combo guard, shot a combined 23 of 48 (48 percent), averaged 5.3 rebounds and added 11 assists in the four games he played in the Sweet 16. He also shot 13 of 27 (48 percent) from three point range. For the season, he played 25 of the team’s 36 games and averaged 16.9 points per game, 6.5 rebounds and shot 55 percent (151 of 275) from the field.

When announcing McNeil’s signing of his National Letter of Intent to attend Bellarmine and play basketball, Knights head coach Scott Davenport said, "We began recruiting Sean when he was a sophomore. He is a great fit with every facet of our program. Sean is a great teammate, team player and he has a very strong desire to learn. He has one trait that every player must have: he can really shoot the basketball and does so with great confidence. He is not just a shooter, he is a complete player."

The Jaguars defeated Meade County, Collins and Fern Creek on Thursday, Friday and Saturday before bowing-out to the Purples on Sunday.

McNeil will help fill the void created by the graduation of senior All-American guard Rusty Troutman. He helped lead the Jaguars to a 31-5 record playing in the always-tough Ninth Region and scored 70 total points in the Sweet 16. He scored his 1,000th career point in late January and his teammates call him "McBuckets".

"I chose Bellarmine because every time I was there, I felt welcomed and a part of the Knights family," McNeil told Bellarmine athletics upon signing his NLI. "The basketball program is top notch, and the academics are great as well. Bellarmine is close to home, so all my friends and family will be able to come watch, too. I know that BU is my home."

If you like what you read from coach Davenport on McNeil, here’s what his Cooper head coach Tim Sullivan had to say about him in the Bellarmine athletics article reporting his signing the NLI with the Knights:

"Sean has a chance to be a really, really good college basketball player especially in Coach Davenport's system," Sullivan said. "Sean is a very well-rounded basketball player. He's fun to watch because he's so unselfish, and he has a great ability to score. The most fun thing about coaching Sean is his willingness to do whatever it takes."

And he played well in the biggest games of the season, earning All-9th Region All-Tournament honors in a region loaded with talent from teams such as Covington Catholic and Newport Central Catholic.

So the Knights add another successful, championship-caliber player in McNeil, to go with several current players who have enjoyed success on the high school level.

Current BU freshman Ben Weyer is a Newport Central Catholic alum and his squad bested McNeil and the Jaguars twice in the 2015-2016 season. Weyer’s team made it to the semifinals of the Sweet 16 last year as did fellow BU big man Caleb Taylor from South Laurel. Sophomore guard Daniel Ramser helped his Trinity team make a run to the state semifinals in 2014 as well. 


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