McConnell attended Chartiers Valley High School in the Pittsburgh-area borough of Bridgeville, Pennsylvania, where he played for his father, Tim. As the team captain his senior year, he averaged 34.2 points, 8.2 rebounds and 9.1 assists per game, earned first-team all-state honors, was named the Associated Press' Pennsylvania Class 3A Player of the Year, and also named the male athlete of the year for all sports by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. He led the Colts to a 29-2 record, the WPIAL championship, and a berth in the Class 3A state championship game as a senior.
As a freshman for Duquesne in 2010–11, McConnell averaged 10.8 points, 3.8 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 2.8 steals per game in 32 appearances (30 starts), earning 2011 Atlantic 10 Freshman of the Year honors.
As a sophomore in 2011–12, he averaged 11.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 2.8 steals per game, helping the Dukes to a 16-15 record and earning third team All-Atlantic 10 Conference honors and a spot on the A-10 All-Defensive Team.
In April 2012, he transferred to Arizona where he was subsequently forced to sit out the 2012–13 season due to NCAA transfer rules. McConnell's transfer was motivated by a desire to compete for a national championship.
In the 2013–14 season McConnell helped lead the Wildcats to a 21-0 record to start the season before teammate Brandon Ashley injured his foot and was sidelined for the rest of the season. The season resulted in an Elite 8 appearance for the Wildcats. As a senior, McConnell was voted first-team All-Pac-12 and named to the Pac-12 All-Defensive Team, and he helped lead Arizona to another appearance in the Elite Eight.
After going undrafted in the 2015 NBA draft, McConnell joined the Philadelphia 76ers for the 2015 NBA Summer League. On September 27, 2015, he signed with the 76ers. He played well during preseason, averaging 6.2 points and 4.8 assists in five games, earning himself a spot on the 76ers' opening night roster. He went on to make his NBA debut in the team's season opener against the Boston Celtics on October 28. In 27 minutes of action, he recorded four points, four assists and three steals in a 112–95 loss. On February 6, 2016, while starting at point guard in place of the injured Ish Smith, McConnell tied his season high of 17 points in a 103–98 win over the Brooklyn Nets. On March 23, in a loss to the Denver Nuggets, he had a 17-point outing for a third time in 2015–16. At the season's end, he received two votes in the 2016 NBA All-Rookie Team voting.
In July 2016, McConnell re-joined the 76ers for the 2016 NBA Summer League. On December 11, 2016, McConnell had a near triple-double with 12 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists in a 97–79 win over the Detroit Pistons. On January 6, 2017, he had a career-high 17 assists in a 110–106 loss to the Boston Celtics, becoming just the fourth player in franchise history to hit that mark in a single contest. His total was two off the Philadelphia's all-time record of 19 assists, initially set by Maurice Cheeks in 1987, and later matched by Dana Barros in 1995. McConnell also hit a game winning buzzer beater against the New York Knicks with a turnaround jump shot over Carmelo Anthony on January 11, 2017.
McConnell's father, Tim, is one of the most successful coaches in WPIAL history and played at Waynesburg College (now Waynesburg University) from 1984 to 1986.
His aunt, Suzie McConnell-Serio, was an All-American at Penn State (1985–1988), Olympic gold medalist and WNBA standout prior to being inducted to the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008. She started her college coaching career at Duquesne and is currently the head women's basketball coach at the University of Pittsburgh.
He married his high school sweetheart, Valerie, in September 2017.High school
AP first-team all-state honors
AP Pennsylvania Class 3A Player of the Year
NCAA Tournament West Region All-Tournament Team (2015)
District IX All-District Team USBWA (2015)
Pac-12 Tournament All-Tournament Team (2015)
First-team All-Pac-12 (2015)
Second-team All-Pac-12 (2014)
2x Pac-12 All-Defensive Team (2014, 2015)
Third-team All-Atlantic 10 (2012)
Atlantic 10 All-Defensive Team (2012)
Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year (2011)
Atlantic 10 All-Rookie Team (2011)
ECAC Rookie of the Year (2011)
CollegeInsider.com Freshman All-America (2011)