Neal selects St. Mary's

St. Mary's is on the board in 2013 with a commitment from one of the top wing prospects on the West Coast.

St. Mary's head coach Randy Bennett is off to a good start in 2013 with the commitment of 6-foot-4, 175-pound Albuquerque (N.M.) Eldorado shooting guard Cullen Neal.

Neal unofficially visited St. Mary's this past weekend and pledged to the Gaels on Monday night, he told

"I love the coaching staff, coach Bennett and all those guys. I love them all," Neal said. "I'll get to play right away. That was big in my decision.

"You can't turn down a place that you are going to turn play right and away and it's a top 20 program and they went to the Sweet 16 a few years ago so they are a program on the rise."

The visit Neal took to St. Mary's this weekend cemented his decision.

"I went to watch a game and hung out with the players. It was fun," he said. "I loved California. It wasn't cold or anything. I loved it there."

In a loaded 2013 West Coast guard class, Neal is one of the better prospects of the group with a high basketball IQ, very good motor, consistent shooting range out to three and vision. He'll need to get stronger, but should be a good player for St. Mary's.

Cullen's father, Craig Neal, is a coach at New Mexico but the family opted for Cullen to go away from home for college.

"There was always that consideration," Cullen said of playing for his dad, "But in the end I wanted to do my own thing."

* Evan Daniels contributed to this report.

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