McNeal Impresses at Roundball Classic

With the impending move to the Big East conference next season, many fans in Milwaukee are wondering about the future of Marquette basketball. Fear not, help is on the way.

After two consecutive 19-12 seasons and the impending move to the Big East conference in 2006, many fans in Milwaukee are wondering about the future of Marquette basketball. Fear not, help is on the way.

Tuesday night's EA Sports Roundball Classic in Chicago featured some of the best high school basketball talent in the country including future Marquette guard Jerel McNeal. Playing in front of a large fan base from his nearby hometown of Country Club Hills, McNeal did not disappoint. McNeal scored 12 points on (5-8) shooting and recorded 7 rebounds, and two assists in 22 minutes of action. McNeal was two of two from behind the arc and showed quickness in getting to the basket twice in the second half. McNeal's stat line was similar to current Marquette swingman Dameon Mason's when he participated in the event in 2003.

In a game dominated by pull-up jumpers, full court passes, and high flying dunks, McNeal showed hustle and determination on the defensive end. He recorded a steal, a block, and seven defensive deflections, a stat that Tom Crean holds in high regard. Several times McNeal applied full court pressure on the ball and was frequently the only player back playing defense. At 6'3'', McNeal also fought hard through screens set mostly by players taller and bigger than himself.

In 2006, McNeal will join a backcourt that already includes Mason and current guard Joe Chapman. Top recruit Dominic James also figures to be in the mix at the point guard spot as well. All four will be counted on to pick up the slack left behind by the departure of Marquette's all everything guard Travis Diener.

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