April 21, 2010

Does Neal Signal a Change of Direction?

The University of Oklahoma men's basketball team made things official Friday with Putnam City West standout forward Tyler Neal signing his national letter of intent.

Gatorade's Oklahoma Player of the Year averaged 18.2 points and 8.9 rebounds per game for the Patriots last season, helping lead the team to a school-record 22 wins and to the Class 6A state tournament semifinals. It was West's first tournament appearance since 1977.

"I'm really excited to announce the signing of Tyler Neal," head coach Jeff Capel said in a press conference on Friday. "I think he's going to be a good player for us. He fits what we need in this program. Hard working guys, guys that have talent but also guys that have high character. We look forward to working with him"

In his senior season, the 6-foot-7, 220-pounder shot .557 from the field, .421 from downtown (hitting 45-of-107 attempts) and .785 from the free throw line (95-for-121). He added 1.4 assists, 2.0 blocks and 2.0 steals per contest as well.

"He's skilled, he's a really good athlete, he can shoot the basketball, can pass it and is a pretty good ball handler," Capel said. "I think he was big upside. He skipped a grade when he was younger and so he just turned 17 years old."

"On top of having a very high basketball I.Q., he's a great kid, a really good student and comes from a great family. He's the kind of guy we want in our program and we're excited about what he can become at OU."

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