After the jump, a quick look at some introductory Jerel McNeal material.
Draft Express, 2009:
While McNeal posts a decent 1.45 A/TO ratio, he doesn't display great court vision. He's a scorer first and foremost and often has his head down with the mindset to put the ball in the basket. Considering how often he handles the ball however, with McNeal accounting for almost 23% of his team's offensive possessions, his 3 turnovers per 40 pace adjusted is not very high. He's managed to cut down on his turnovers substantially over the past two seasons, which is a very good sign.
On the defensive end is where he thrives. He's long and bouncy, always on the balls of his feet looking to make a play, but rarely jeopardizing his team. He plays very tight defense, getting into his man, which forces opponents to put the ball on the ground and be funneled into that great Marquette help. Off the ball he can get caught watching it and lose sight of his man. In addition, he hasn't quite figured out how to get through screens on a consistent basis. He likes to cheat through screens instead of tagging a player and can get hung up as a result.
Liberty Ballers, 2010:
Throwback! I have been all bout it bout it over McNeal since the '09 mock drafts were cool. This list may have become a cheat sheet for guys who could get me into bed, but I think Jerel's got an NBA game somewhere and I'm just the guy to find it. He's a tweener that should commit himself to playing the point. He'd have to bulk up to use his size to his advantage when quickness would be leaning the other way, but he's a smart player and I'm convinced that on a team where he's not the number one option, he'd slide into a role very nicely. Plus we'd get to see manhugs from he and Wesley Matthews whenever we faced the Blazers.
6'3" 200 G
The Good: Strong two guard at the college level. Uses his strength to overpower opponents and create shots. Possesses the ability to play with his back to the basket. Has improved his range and three point stroke drastically over 4 year college career. Has a knack for knocking down midrange pull up and fadeaway jumpers. Finishes well with both hands. Uses his awareness and length on defense to create havoc. Good on-ball defender and moves his feet well.
The Bad: Lack of size to play two guard in the pro's. Lack of dribbling and passing skills to play the point. Doesn't make people around him better. Solid athlete, but not explosive. Has difficulty beating opponents off the dribble, doesn't have great first step or burst to the basket. Handle needs work. Has difficulty maintaining dribble with his left hand. Jump shot is flat and lacks elevation.
Low Down: McNeal can be a useful bench player for defense and energy. No dominant attribute to his offensive game. Overall athletic ability underwhelming. Not a natural shooter, despite three point percentage as a Senior. Will have plenty of difficulty finding shots at the next level against longer, stronger opposition.
Ridiculous Upside, 2011:
McNeal, a 6-foot-3 guard, has started all 40 games for Rio Grande Valley this season on his way to averages of 19.5 points, 4.5 assists and 4.2 rebounds while shooting 45 percent from the field and making 56 of his 155 attempts from beyond the three-point arc.
McNeal was included on both the Charlotte Bobcats and Chicago Bulls' Summer League rosters and then joined the Houston Rockets for the preseason before finally ending up in the D-League.
While known mostly for smothering defense and a smooth jumper during his four-year career at Marquette, McNeal has shown this season in the D-League that he can also play both guard positions as opposed to solely being an undersized shooting guard.
With the hiring of new General Manager Dell Demps over the Summer, who formerly served in the same capacity with the Austin Toros of the D-League, it shouldn't be surprising that the Hornets have become more receptive to using the D-League for things of this nature.
McNeal's call-up marks the first time the Hornets have dug into the D-League during the regular season since 2008-09 when they called upAnthony Tolliver and then decided not to play him during his 10-day stay. The only other two players to be called up from the D-League in the history of the Hornets are Marcus Fizer and Tierre Brown.