Home Local Sports McNeil Jr. named NCBCA’s All-State Player of the Year

McNeil Jr. named NCBCA’s All-State Player of the Year

Paul McNeil Jr. was named the NCBCA's All-State "Player of the Year." (Kyle Pillar, sports editor)

ROCKINGHAM — Voted as the best of the best by the North Carolina Basketball Coaches Association, Paul McNeil Jr. has been named the state’s top male basketball player of the season.

Adding another accolade to his deep bench of personal recognitions, McNeil Jr. topped the First Team All-State roster.

The Richmond Senior High School junior wing was named North Carolina’s “Player of the Year,” selected by the NCBCA’s members.

Earning “Coach of the Year” was Jim Baker of Central Cabarrus High School. 

The other four players selected to the First Team were Isaiah Evans (North Mecklenburg), Drake Powell (Northwood), Jah Short (Farmville Central) and Jarin Stevenson (Seaforth).

For the second straight season, McNeil Jr. topped the list of a statewide postseason recognition, also earning the N.C. Gatorade Player of the Year as a sophomore.

“It feels really good to be named the Player of the Year,” McNeil Jr. said. “There are a lot of really talented players in the state and players who made First Team. It’s an honor to have been selected by the coaches.

“My hard work has been paying off,” he continued. “I’ve spent a lot of time in the gym and everything is falling in line for me. No matter what, I always want to keep working and never get discouraged.”

The North Carolina State University commit returned to his hometown in November after spending several months playing at Prolific Prep in California. 

McNeil Jr. helped the Richmond Raiders finish the season 28-3 as the 4A East regional champions, as the team made its first state championship appearance since 1997. In a season full of program records being broken, the 28 wins set the most in a single season for the boys’ basketball team.

The Raiders also won the Sandhills Athletic Conference regular-season and tournament titles, while securing the first undefeated run through conference play in program history (14-0).


Named to his third All-Sandhills Athletic Conference team in three seasons, McNeil Jr. earned his second consecutive All-SAC “Player of the Year” recognition.

Earlier this month, McNeil Jr. was also selected by the NCBCA as the District 4 “Player of the Year,” making him the reigning top player in the district. He was joined by teammate Jullien Cole (Second Team) and Donald Pettigrew (Coach of the Year).

In 25 games this season, McNeil Jr. led the SAC and the 4A East in scoring with 24.0 points per game and added 599 points to his career total (1,477 career points). He shot 53% from the field, netted 78 three-pointers (38%), which was third in the 4A East.

McNeil Jr. had 18 games of 20+ points, nine games of 30+ points and tied his career-high of 41 points against Union Pines on Jan. 6. He also had seven games where he scored five or more three-pointers.

Averaging 8.7 rebounds per game, McNeil Jr. led the Raiders, was third in the SAC, and resulted in a team-high 13 double-doubles. Other stats include 4.2 assists per game and 2.2 steals per game.

Upon his return to Richmond, McNeil Jr. said a lot of his focus was to become a better teammate, leader and facilitator of the game.

“I got better at being a leader this year and made sure everything with the team went in the right direction,” McNeil Jr. said. “One thing I worked on was facilitating on the court and making sure my guys got open shots and we played well on offense and defense.

“I’d really like to thank my coaching staff for helping me this season,” he closed. “And I want to thank God for putting me in this position.”

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Kyle Pillar is a 16-time North Carolina Press Association award-winning sports editor with The Richmond Observer. Follow the sports department on Twitter @ROSports_ for the best in-depth coverage of Richmond County sports.