Introducing the 'matured' girls basketball Metro Player of the Year

It's important to Liv McGill that basketball fans know this about her: She's still an athletic point guard who can dictate a game with her mesmerizing yo-yo dribble, still the flashy, splashy playmaker, still "L.A. Liv."

But she's a far cry from the moody, often combative backcourt player who, by her own admission, "used to have a really bad attitude on the court. I used to average, like, one tech a game," she said.

Helped by a five-year apprenticeship under some of the top girls basketball players in the state, the Hopkins senior guard put her feisty past behind her and took on the mantle of leader.

And she became the 2024 Star Tribune Metro Player of the Year in girls basketball.

A gym rat who has been hooked on hoops since her first organized team at age 7, McGill said good fortune drove her journey from talented but undisciplined underclassman to senior leader for the No. 1-seeded team in this week's Class 4A state tournament.

Liv McGill's statistics

She played with former All-Metro forward Adalia McKenzie, who's now at Illinois, in her eighth-grade year at Park Center. She transferred to Hopkins the next season and reaped the benefits of playing with future Division I players Amaya Battle, Maya Nnaji, Nunu Agara and Taylor Woodson.

"I learned so much from them," she said.

As their influence grew, so did McGill's game. This season she averaged 22.9 points and 4.6 assists per game, but she showed she's learned when to defer in a section-final victory over rival Wayzata, making 17 assists.

McGill beams when talking about reaching the state tournament, the school's 10th consecutive appearance. It's proof that she's evolved into the player she wants to be.

She figured out what her teammates needed from her. She grew up.

"I've really matured a lot," McGill said. "Just knowing when to go and knowing when not to go. I consider myself a pass-first point guard, so it's my job to get my teammates involved first. And to know when it's time for me to take over the game, or if we need a tough bucket or something."

McGill has always loved to be noticed on the court, and she shows obvious style and swag. Eyes gravitate toward her.

"I'm a flashy player," she said. "I want to be that way. I like to stand out on the court. I feel like it helps my game."

Her childhood barber gave her the nickname L.A. Liv, and her Hopkins teammates revived it.

"L.A. stands for Live Action, not Los Angeles," she said. "Because of how I play. I'm always moving."

Now she's moving to smooth her reputation.

"People see me on the court, they think I'm mad bad all the time or I'm cocky, but if you actually know me, I joke a lot." she said through a smile. "Off the court, I'm actually a really cool person, but when we step in the lines, you're the enemy."

When the season is over, she'll head to the University of Florida.

"The SEC is the toughest conference in the country. I like the tough games," she said. "I feel like it's gonna elevate my game and help me be the best player I can be."