Along with Dustin Streff, Neal and Davis are the lone seniors on this year's squad, and they are looking forward to leading this team throughout thick and thin.
"Oh my god, words can't describe
how bad I want to get out on the court,"
Though he wasn't playing at the
end of last year,
"I knew teaching these guys was going to be fun and it's turning out to be exactly what I thought," he said. "I expect to play a major role in offense, defense, practice and just being a leader. Everything associated with being a leader. Just being there for all of these new guys."
According to Coach Wayne Morgan,
"Anthony Davis has had a terrific four days," Morgan said. "He's really improved. He's in shape. His shoulder feels good. He really playing hard and playing well He is another guy that in between drills is going over to the freshmen and the new guys and explaining to them what to do and how to do it. He is a leader in that respect also."
Neal wasn't hurt last year, but
Neal hopes to go out on a high note during his senior season. Last year, Neal
hit five three pointers in one game against Wagner. That game marked Jon's
career high of 16 points. Neal's family has a rich tradition at
"We take great pride in
"I have some really good memories," he said. "I'm hoping to finish out with a strong season."
Neal is a role player that has proven he can knock down the three in pressure situations. Ask Steve Alford and the Iowa Hawkeye's of two years ago. But this year Neal's role on the team is somewhat uncertain while heading into the season.
"I think that Jon is a very good shooter," Morgan said. "I think that sometimes he might have put a little too much pressure on himself and we've talked to John, not about being a designated shooter, but we've talked to John about being a basketball player. I've talked to him about trying to really get out and run the wing on the break and help us that way.
"He didn't shoot the ball his freshman year, but he would go to games and do a really good job defensively on guys. I would really like to see him do a good job defensively in terms of shutting certain guys on the opposition down. Then I would like to see him really get out on the wing and I think if he would worry about some of those other things, than his shot would fall right into place. He's worked very, very hard in the off season to even get better."
Neal is excited to get back out there and make a run at the Big 12 and he believes the Cyclones are good enough to do just that.
"We have high expectations of ourselves," Neal said. "We have to work hard. We have to do the things we need to do to become a better team. I'm going anything I can trying to fill a role in the team. I'm really working hard."
Along with Neal and Davis, Streff is also entering his senior season as a Cyclone. Streff began his college career at NIACC and averaged 3.2 points per game. He was the recipient of the Pete Taylor Mr. Hustle Award in 2005.