In life, things don't come easy. It doesn't matter if it's on or off a basketball court but the best things in life are usually the hardest to achieve. Every day as viewers of college and professional sports, a player's progression is often one of the quickest factors to judge. The fan base or even analysts across the country usually view a player's progression in two ways.
Either they have it or they don’t.
Developing programs takes time. Developing players take time. The work that often isn't viewed by the public is what sets players apart. It's never easy but when the time comes, a player's development is one of the most fascinating things to see in sports.
Teri Moren took over this program back in 2014 and one of the things she said over the past few years is that progression takes time. You can't build a program overnight and the same goes for the players. The constant improvement of a player is an entire process. The message that Moren has preached over the past few seasons has been the same and, well, Chloe Moore-McNeil is the prime example.
Moore-McNeil’s all-around development was on display during No. 2 IU’s 68-52 win over No. 12 Michigan on Thursday, as she finished with 13 points, four rebounds, three assists and three steals.
The Tennessee native is in her third year as a Hoosier, coming in for her freshman season back in 2020. In her first season, she played your typical freshman role. Averaging 7.3 minutes a game, Moore-McNeil waited for her turn.
Her sophomore year saw another stride in the right direction. She appeared in 31 games, taking on a role coming off the bench. She made strides offensively but the defense is where she began to blossom. She may have picked up a thing or two from fellow teammates Nicole Cardaño-Hillary and Ali Patberg because now in her third season, Moore-McNeil is a different player.
She glides across the court, taking on the opponent's best perimeter player. She then turns around to assist on a double team poking at the ball every few seconds that she can. When she's not doing all of that, she either is setting up her shot for an outside 3 or passing it out, sharing the wealth. Regardless of the angle you look at it, Moore-McNeil is a player who has taken on a new form.
Moore-McNeil was quick to say why she's improved. In sports, we always hear about how much of the game itself was mental but in her case, that is the biggest reason of them all.
“I think my growth came from a mental standpoint,” Moore-McNeil said after Thursday’s win. “Being confident in myself, since I've gotten here my teammates, the coaching staff, they believe in me and I think it's about time for me to believe in myself.”
The box score won't tell the full story but anyone who watches Indiana basketball can see the growth over the past few seasons. Her role as a leader, a defender and an overall person can be linked back to around this time of year a season ago.
Her progression has been part of what Moren has been building at Indiana. It’s taken some time, as all great things do, but look at where Indiana and Moore-McNeil stand, as the No. 2 team in the nation and the player who holds this team all together.
“It's been so great to see,” Moren said. “All of us believe in Chloe. Our staff, her teammates. I think one of the things that has happened to Chloe is that she's such a great story and I've continued to talk about her patience and waiting for her moment and waiting for her time to be a starter and play significant minutes, and along the way she just has continued to keep her head down and do the work.”
Indiana and Moore-McNeil have put in the time. They’ve worked and like Moren said, kept their head down during the process. One thing is clear, the work has been done and now they are seeing the results.