Stanley, aka Stan, McNeil is a professional athlete that has toured the world displaying his talents of the 4 point shot with the Harlem Globetrotters. Stan is currently residing in Memphis we he works as an Assistant Manager at Hibbett Sports as well as at the Douglass Community Center as a Recreational Leader. His focuses on building a relationship with God, gaining a career with the youth, and devoting his time and efforts to his son, Kelby McNeil. Let’s enjoy his story as he has turned adversity into opportunities that individuals dream of.
Give us an introduction about yourself? My name is Stanley McNeil and I am 25 years old. I grew up in Mitchell Heights were I attended Treadwell High School (class of 2006). While at Treadwell, I participated in varsity basketball from my 9th thru 12th grade years. I played basketball collegiately and professionally. Today, I consider myself just a dad. I work at Hibbett Sports and Douglass Community Center to provide for my son. I am interested in a career working with the youth in the areas of recreation/sports.
How was life growing up in Mitchell Heights? (With emotion) Life was very, very tough growing up in Mitchell Heights. If it was not for Mitchell Heights, I would not be the person I am today. The community (my peers) was very, very hard on me according to my appearance and height. I was bullied to the point where I was crying and extremely frustrated. At the end of the day, it made me tough. I was not use to this type of behavior by my peers. I was a friendly person that attended the community center and did not know how to handle this adversity. I considered this a rough stage within my life. I began attending Ira Samelson’s Boys & Girls Club. This place helped me to become a professional basketball player. Having a place to go everyday (up to 6 days a week) to utilize my talents was a blessing. My love for the game of basketball flourished and motivated me to become better.
I built a bond with, my childhood best friend, Barry Wellington (Treadwell High School Alumni ’06 basketball standout- played at Mineral Area College, SIU Edwardsville, and Mountain State). Individuals tried to tear us apart with competition but we remained humbled and determined to better each other. He was one of the reasons that I left Kingsbury Jr. High to attend Treadwell. The move was based on the both of us creating a legacy at Treadwell High School. We began playing AAU ball and seen our talents began to thrive on the hardwood. Besides basketball, Barry was a brother that looked out for my well being on and off the court. My home life was bumpy. Barry’s family welcomed me into their home during my hardship. His parents provided me with emotional and financial support. I give praise to God for Barry and his family for their efforts in supporting me. Without it, I would have given up on myself.
After graduating from Treadwell, what path did you embark on in life? After graduating from high school, I was not considered a top name basketball player but the coaches knew my potential. People do not know that I did not have any scholarship offers on the table. In the 12th grade, I worked hard on obtaining the grades to assist in the college offers. I took everything serious too late. Focusing on academics and basketball at this point, did not allow people to see what all talents I possessed due to it being at the very end. Stressed, I had no clue on what direction I was going to take in life. Barry had a tremendous amount of offers on the table. Southwest Tennessee Community College (SWTCC) called and showed interest but the underlying purpose was to obtain Barry. Knowing the level of our brotherhood, the purpose was to sign me as of way of persuading Barry to sign as well. Barry had interest in attending initially to continue our basketball legacy, but decided to explore other options outside of Memphis. SWTCC knew that I could play, but did not know my potential. I was brought in by the coaching staff as a member of the 2006-2007 team. Excited by this life altering opportunity, I was eager to come in and display my talents. Unfortunately, the excitement did not last long. The coaches brought me in for a conference and informed me that I would be red-shirting for the season based on my height for my position (something I heard my entire life). Not knowledgeable on the college terminology, the assumption of myself was that I would be a key role player on the bench. Under further investigation, I realized that I was not going to play the entire year; although I was able to keep my scholarship. Frustration began to surface as to where I decided not to attend school. Basketball was the key tool that I had which motivated me throughout life. I foresaw that SWTCC was not the place I wanted to continue my career due to the direction, cohesiveness of the team, and my opportunities.
I continued to work on my game at the Boys & Girls club (my second home), even though I left school. I asked for help and was granted it by Reggie Carrick (Treadwell High School Alumni ’99: basketball standout- Jackson State CC and Lambuth University). Reggie informed me of two schools, Jackson State and Dyersburg State, were he knew the coaches. Wanting a fresh start, I informed him of my eagerness of these opportunities to create my own legacy. I determined that whatever coach called first was going to be the place I called home. By the luck of a draw, Jackson State’s coach called me first. Granted two workouts for the institutions, Jackson State is where I took my talents. My contributions consisted of the following: school records for the most three pointers made as a freshman (104), 1st team All-Conference and All-Region performer, and lastly as a 2008-2009 Pre-Season NJCAA Honorable Mention All-American. After the basketball stint at JSCC, I received a scholarship to attend Union University in Jackson, Tn.
At Union University, I encountered adversity once again. The coaches wanted to bench me my senior year due to my performance during my junior year. Built for a challenge, my frustration was geared towards perfecting my craft of shooting. Daily I began to shoot 200 shots and recorded the information in my journals. This continued throughout the season. At one point, I was leading the nation in field-goal percentage (60%). When in a slump, I reviewed my journals as motivation. Career accomplishments included ranked 2nd in the nation for 3-pt % and ranked 11th in assist/turnover ratio. I was recognized by the TranSouth Conference as: Pre-Season All Conference 2010-2011, and All-TranSouth First Team for the 2010-2011. Other career accomplishments consisted of: Scholar Athlete for the 2009-2010 season and Second Team All-Conference 2009-2010. In 2011, I graduated from Union University with a Degree in Sports Management/Sports Marketing.
The Harlem Globetrotters extended a work-out to me. This work-out included basketball players from all around the world. I killed the work-out by shooting the ball great and as a result, I was offered a contract by this elite organization. I cried at this point because I had really made it; a professional basketball player. People thought I was not going to make but I overcame their doubts.
What advice would you give to that skinny little boy that lacks self-confidence within himself towards his desires and dreams in life? That was me. Once you put your mind towards your desire, especially when people say you cannot do anything, allow the negativity to be your motivation. Growing up people criticized me daily. That was my drive. I loved to prove people wrong. I did not result to violence but used the criticism as inspiration. I fought back with actions. This allowed me to feel joy inside.
We commend you Stan for Beating the Odds. Your life will inspire other fellow athletes that they too can come from hardship and shine amongst the stars. Thank you for allowing us to tell your story.