Noodles Neal

Five (more) under the radar freshmen

Last week Steve Fetch put up a list of "under the radar freshmen", and while Steve and I may disagree about the definition of the word "under", it was nonetheless an excellent list. Here, I'm setting forth to dig a little deeper, and will not be naming anyone who is a consensus top 100 recruit.

Cullen Neal, New Mexico

Saint Mary's fans were looking forward to watching Cullen Neal come in and help fill the vacancy left by the departed All-Everything Matthew Dellavedova. With similar size and moxy, Neal's advanced game will remind a lot of people of Delly's. Unfortunately for the Gaels, UCLA fired Ben Howland in March and this set into motion a chain of events which resulted in Neal asking out of his Letter of Intent. After Howland was fired, New Mexico head coach Steve Alford was hired at UCLA. New Mexico in turn hired Craig "Noodles" Neal to replace him, and Craig Neal and his family convinced Cullen to stay home and play for pops. Saint Mary's released him, and now he's a Lobo. Things turned south for Cullen this summer with a terrible health scare, but he should be good to go by the opener. He'll start or at least play major minutes, and with Hugh Greenwood and Kendall Williams handling a lot of the pressure, Neal won't have to be the man from day one.

Deandre Burnett, Miami

Burnett was one of the premier scorers in the class of 2012. Then he went the post-grad route and fell off the radar a bit. Burnett is an explosive scorer, who is a bit undersized (6-2) to stick strictly at the SG position. His PG skills have a long way to go, but by the time his career ends in Coral Gables, that's where he'll be playing. As a freshman however, he'll be called upon to score for a team which lost basically everyone.

Monte Morris, Iowa State

The Cyclones graduated five players, including Gary, Indiana point guard Korie Lucious. Now Flint, Michigan's Monte Morris (Mr. Basketball in Michigan) is in town to try and earn a lot of those minutes. Morris is undersized at this point (6-1, 165) and will need to add serious pounds in the weight room. He's a smooth scorer who can get inside the defense to score or create for others.

Troy Caupain, Cincinnati

Caupain isn't going to be handed anything by Mick Cronin and staff. If he wants a big freshman year, he's going to have to earn it. He'll begin by backing up Ge'Lawn Guyn at the point, but Caupain's real skill is off the ball. He averaged over 27 points as a senior and was the Metro POY for Richmond. More impressively, at 6-3 he averaged more than 15 rebounds a game. That kind of effort will make him difficult to keep off the floor. Since the Bearcats typically run 3-guard sets, Caupain has the opportunity for major minutes, but will be competing against several other inexeperience guards. But if he can get up to speed defensively, he'll be gettng his minutes.

Marcus Foster, Kansas State

With Rodney McGruder and Martavious Irving graduating, and Angel Rodriguez transferring from K-State to Miami, there is a major hole in the back court and on the wing in Manhattan. Marcus Foster is one of many players who could be earning those minutes. He's an explosive and athletic player who is always looking to score. He was the 3A POY in Texas, and did that by scoring inside and outside. He has the strength and build to take weaker players into the post, and that versatility will make it easy for Coach Weber to put him on the floor.