He has spent almost every day since the Red Dragons' elimination from the 2011-12 postseason at the Active Sports Complex under the tutelage of Rahim Olden, toning his body and improving his agility and stamina for the grueling season.
For evidence, McNeil says, look at his AAU teammate and Nitro star Angelo Sirianni, who went from averaging seven points per game as a sophomore to 20 last year while training under Olden.
Much of that improvement comes with confidence, something that his workouts have improved immensely. He has gone from standing beyond the 3-point line and firing up long-range shots, to a willingness to take defenders off the dribble and attacking the bucket. Ironically, a broken left wrist - McNeil is a southpaw - helped him improve.
He took advantage of the opportunity to exclusively use his right hand for shooting, dribbling and driving in practice. The splint has been removed and is replaced by tape, but he hasn't replaced his mentality.
"My right hand dribbling feels almost as dominant as my left," McNeil said. "I figure I'll probably tape it up for every game, just to be safe."
As his game improves, so does the Red Dragons, even if their history doesn't include much worth talking about.
In addition to their two quarterfinal visits in the last 14 seasons, St. Albans lost in the championship game in 1985, '80 and '75, in the semifinals in '86 and '77, and in the quarterfinals in '88, '64 and '63. That's 10 State Tournament appearances for a school with a long history.
As for recent history, some of the issues have centered on scoring and chemistry, both of which have been solved.
"Chemistry is kind of a big thing right now. I know it's just practice, but I feel it," said McNeil, who was part of the last two teams at St. Albans which were a combined 12-32. "Moss came in and nobody knew what he would be like and he's just part of the team now.
"I talk to Thad and we both think we can get in the 20s almost every game and we'll win a lot of games this year. It's really not fair to compare him to Randy, but he's only 14 years old and he's going to have a huge role already.
"In the four years I've been here, this is probably the best group I've been with. I think we go pretty deep, we're athletic ... I'm looking forward to it."
St. Albans opens the regular season at Riverside on Dec. 14. The Red Dragons' home opener is Dec. 18 against Capital.
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Rich Stevens at richstev...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4837.