The Indiana women’s basketball team picked up its third commitment of the week on Friday when 2020 point guard Chloe Moore-McNeil made her pledge to the Hoosiers.
The 6-foot Moore-McNeil is a two-time Class A Tennessee Miss Basketball from Greenfield, where she averaged 20.8 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game as a senior. The Yellow Jackets were 34-0 and in the state semifinals for the third straight year when the season was suspended. She has scored 2,598 career points to go with over 500 rebounds, 500 assists and 400 steals, winning the 2018 state title.
“Smooth. That’s the word that’s used a lot (to describe her game),” said her stepfather, Tory McNeil. “It doesn’t look like she’s playing hard, but she’s been doing dribbling drills since could stand up. She’s efficient. She doesn’t have to take 20 shots to score 25 points. Shoots 80 percent on free throws, 41 percent from 3, 65 percent from the field. She’s efficient and her basketball IQ — she sees the floor better than most kids.”
Moore-McNeil wound up choosing Indiana over Cincinnati, but her recruitment took a detour after her sophomore year. The unexpected death of her mother, Corenda, on her 16th birthday left her motivated to play basketball but not to stray far from home in order to do so.
“She wanted to wait to make sure she was OK with leaving home,” McNeil said. “Her mom passed away, so being young her initial reaction was, “Dad, I’m going to stay close to home, make sure my (three) sisters are OK.’ I told her, ‘We’ll be fine wherever you go.’”
Initially, that appeared to be Murray State, Tennessee Tech or Southeast Missouri State, all within roughly two hours of home. Eventually, Moore-McNeil rediscovered her joy and sense of adventure.
“You could see the difference in her this year,” McNeil said. “After her mom passed, she dedicated her junior year to her. It was a grind, because she was set on winning Miss Basketball. Her mom was playing college ball when we met and she had told Chloe, ‘This is your year,’ so Chloe wanted to fulfill that. this year she had more fun, had a smile on her face and still managed to win Miss Basketball again.”
While Moore-McNeil battled through life’s difficult circumstances, Indiana was always right there with a watchful eye.
IU assistant coach Rhet Wierzba first took note when McNeil, who is an assistant coach with the Lady Silver Foxes AAU team, sent out a highlight video of his daughter between eighth and ninth grade.
Within 10 minutes of seeing the tape, Wierzba was in contact and has remained so ever since. IU was on hand when Greenfield won the state championship in 2018, and Wierzba often texted his congratulations when Moore-McNeil would hit another milestone or have a big game.
The Hoosiers were scheduled to watch McNeil-Moore in the state semifinals on March 13, but the tournament was suspended the night of March 12, the same day the NCAA Tournament was canceled.
An official visit to Bloomington, a trip of four and a half hours, was supposed to follow, but it turned into a virtual visit instead. During a Zoom video meeting on Monday, Indiana officially made Moore-McNeil an offer, which she accepted within 24 hours.
Next up is an official signing ceremony, complete with social distancing, outside the Greenfield gym on Wednesday. It’s a gym inside of which hangs a No. 22 jersey, the number Moore-McNeil’s mom and aunt both wore, and her No. 12 will soon join them in the rafters.