JUCO Guard From NYC Taking Visits

Reporter Brian Towey has the latest information on Vernon Teel ...

Vernon Teel has some thinking to do.

A swashbuckling scorer out of Flushing, N.Y., Teel's situation is somewhat unique. As a non-qualifier out of the Laurinburg Institute two years ago, the 6-foot-4 combo guard opted to sit out at Long Island University in Brooklyn during 2006-2007.

Teel ultimately wound up at JUCO powerhouse Chipola in Marianna, Fla,, this Fall, averaging 8.7 points as a freshman on a team bristling with Division I talent.

Vernon helped coach Greg Heiar's club to a 35-2 record and a seventh-place finish at the NJCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship.

Teel now has three years of eligibility for use at a Division I program, and it's choosing time.

First up was Louisiana Tech. Teel took an official visit to the WAC program the weekend of April 11.

"It was alright," said Teel. "I liked the school. I liked the coaching staff. I met (Tech Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach) Karl Malone. It was a different experience; Louisiana is different."

Teel met with Loyola Marymount head coach Bill Bayno in Florida on Monday, and has scheduled an official visit to the school for May 2.

"I have a good relationship with (Bayno)," said Teel of Bayno, who remembered the player from past Five-Star camps. "I really feel comfortable with him. I could really play for him."

It's a relationship with Queens roots. Former Christ the King player Larry Davis, a friend of Teel's, recently announced his transfer from Seton Hall to LMU. Teel hinted that if he were to join Davis in the West Coast program that more New York City players would consider LMU as a viable destination.

"The connection to LMU was Larry," said Teel. "I've known him for some time. ... Loyola Marymount is going to have a great team (next) year if all the pieces fall into place. It's not just going to be me and Larry (from New York if I commit)."

Teel fully expects to use more of his three remaining official visits after his return from the trip.

"There's a couple of schools I'm looking at," said Teel. "Ive got three more visits, but I've got to figure out which ones I'm going to take other than LMU. I've got (interest from) Oklahoma State, with Travis Ford, Kentucky with Billy Gillispie, and Oklahoma with Jeff Capel."

Assistants from Oklahoma and Oklahoma St. were in to evaluate Teel within the last week, while Kentucky's interest was piqued when an assistant saw Teel at a recent JUCO showcase.

A natural scorer, Teel said that he made the transition from shooting guard to point guard this year, and that all of the schools were recruiting him as a point.

"I'm not a shooting guard anymore," said Teel. "I'm a point. My coach calls me a scoring point. Mostly schools are recruiting me as a point guard."

Ultimately, Teel is less concerned with playing at a particular level than he is in finding the right fit.

"I'm looking to go somewhere to win," said Teel. "It doesn't have to be a high major school. My production and the points I score are not important compared to (winning). ... Hopefully I'll be able to find a place where we can compete for a conference and a national championship."

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