After a sparkling MVP performance in last week's Har-Ber Holiday Tournament in Springdale, Conway junior point guard Kenyon McNeaill is ready to turn the page to conference play.
McNeaill (6-0, 180) will get to do that right away with a trip Tuesday night to North Little Rock.
The Wampus Cats (10-1) will try to extend a 10-game winning streak against a group that includes former Conway player Terry Tidwell.
"It's real big," McNeaill said. "We have now won 10 games in a row. It was real big to come down (to Springdale), hang out with the team, get closer, and then come out and do big in the games. But we have got to keep in going as we get into conference play."
McNeaill, who is averaging around 18 points, will certainly lead the way for head coach James Bates.
"He directs traffic, he scores, he rebounds, he assists, whatever is needed," Bates said. "He usually is on the other team's best scorer on the perimeter. He has done that for two years for not.
"He is one of the best students of the game that I have ever coached," Bates added. "He knows when to give it up, when to try and take over. He is a team player and the kids look up to him. He is really a special player."
That has generated interest from the University of Arkansas and several other schools.
"It is pretty much the same people that I talked to you about this summer – Arkansas, Missouri, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Baylor and UCA," McNeaill said.
McNeaill, a standout for the Arkansas Wings on the AAU circuit, got a chance to take in a Razorback practice last week and has kept up this season with the Razorbacks (11-1), who beat No. 4 Oklahoma last week and host No. 7 Texas Tuesday night.
"I think they are pretty good," McNeaill said. "I really like little (Arkansas freshman) Courtney Fortson. He is a point guard that is able to force a lot of things. I like the way he runs the floor and runs the team. I like watching them."
McNeaill said he is working hard on becoming better every day.
"My shot is my best thing going right now and I am working on being able to penetrate harder," McNeaill said. "I am trying to get into the lane and look to kick out for 3-pointers or get it inside for dunks.
"I feel good about being a leader on the court, controlling the tempo of the game and getting my teammates into the game," McNeaill added.
Conway is hoping to get a boost from the return of 6-4 junior forward Preston Purifoy, who has been out with a knee injury.
"We are hoping he is cleared to go Tuesday when we start conference play," Bates said. "We can't wait to get him back in there. It gives us more size. We can use that on the perimeter or we can take him down there and post him up on the block. He is just a special player also."
Conway also has a pair of other standouts in 6-5 senior Jarvis Garner and 5-11 sophomore Micha Delph, son of former Razorback Marvin Delph.
Micha has stepped right in and taken some of the pressure off Kenyon," Bates said. "He can play the point, he can play the other guard. He had a game earlier this season where he hit 8 out of 10 from 3 and scored 27 points. He does so many things when he is not scoring that doesn't show up in the box score."
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