Over the course of the past decade, players like Dan Dickau, Matt Santangelo, Blake Stepp and Matt Bouldin have excelled as versatile combo guards in the Gonzaga system. While each player had unique facets to his game, the ability to play multiple positions and create for teammates were qualities that each possessed. With a strong basketball IQ, and a versatile game that allows him to have an impact on the court in a multitude of ways, 2013 recruit Cullen Neal appears to have a similar skill set to some of these former GU guards. After taking an unofficial visit to Spokane for the first weekend of practice, we caught up with the New Mexico native to learn more about his game and his recruitment.
TSSF: What do you think are your greatest strengths on the court? What areas of your game do you need to improve the most over the next two years?
Cullen Neal: I think my greatest strengths on the court are my court vision and my ability to score(overall basketball IQ). I have the ability to score in many different ways, but I can also make the good pass, and dish the rock when I need too.
I think the main thing I need to improve is my strength, by hitting the weight room hard, and working out with my trainer. I think that once I get stronger and my body develops that will help me in all aspects of my game.
TSSF: With your size and skill set, what position do you see yourself playing at the Division I level? Are you most comfortable as a PG, SG or Combo Guard?
Cullen Neal: I see myself playing a combo guard. I've never really played on a team that just has one point guard, and I know Gonzaga is the same way with different people bringing the ball up the court. I can play the PG, or SG if needed
TSSF: In terms of recruiting, what schools do you have offers from at this point, and what schools are you also hearing from the most?
Cullen Neal: Arizona St, Oregon St, St Marys, Fresno St, Tulane, San Francisco, San Diego, and Portland have all offered. I am also hearing from Stanford, Kansas, Vanderbilt, Florida St, Ole Miss, Virginia Tech, Boston College, Utah, Depaul, Arizona, and New Mexico.
TSSF: When did Gonzaga start recruiting you? Which member of the coaching staff have you been hearing from the most?
Cullen Neal: Gonzaga really started recruiting me this year and the coach that i've been talking to the the most is Ray Giacoletti
TSSF: What were some of the highlights of your recent unofficial visit to Gonzaga and how do you think you would fit with the program?
Cullen Neal: My unofficial went great. I had a great time hanging out with the players, watching practice and talking to the coaches. I think I would fit great with the program for many reasons. I got along with the guys really well, I connected with the coaches well and I love Gonzaga's system. It opens the floor up and allows their players to play.
TSSF: What is your timeline for making a decision in your recruitment? What will be some of the key factors that you are looking for in a school?
Cullen Neal: There's really no timeline for my decision. Whenever my decision feels absolutely right, thats when I'll commit to a school. There are a few factors on me making my decision. Of course the location, facilities, friendship with the players. The biggest factors though for me iare the relationship with the coaching staff and I want to go to a place where I'll play right away or at least be given the opportunity to earn a starting spot or quality minutes.