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Neal Kingman-06

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From the Greeley (Colorado) Tribune:




Mandi Torrez, (Bio) torrez@greeleytrib.com

April 9, 2006


Neal Kingman didn't have a choice.


A couple of games into his varsity career, he simply had to turn in his Greeley West basketball jersey.


"His sophomore year we had slated him as a JV player and varsity helper early in the season," West coach Bill Whitehead said. "We were playing Loveland at home, and I put Neal into the game. Loveland was playing a zone and after Neal made three 3-pointers in a row from the left wing, they decided that a zone defense probably wasn't a good idea. I remember leaning over to Coach Lowenbach and said, 'After the game, make sure you get his JV uniform put away.' "


It was only a couple of games later that Kingman made his way to the starting varsity lineup. Not only did he stay in the starting lineup for two more years, but Kingman is the top recruit to come out of West since former University of Northern Colorado and Denver Nugget player Mike Higgins.


Kingman ended his senior season as the team leader in points (17.7 per game), assists (5), rebounds (8) and blocks.


For efforts that also earned him the Class 4A Northern Conference Player of the Year, Kingman is the Tribune Athlete of the Year in boys basketball.


The 6-foot-6 Spartan is one package that doesn't fit perfectly into any one role.


"I'm kind of a player that doesn't really have a position," Kingman said. "I can do a little of everything at every position. I can score, shoot outside or go in the post or off the dribble, so I think I'm versatile in that sense."


Whitehead saw the potential early. The coach first took notice of Kingman in middle school. Whitehead said it was Kingman's "beautiful" form that made the left-hander stand out. But he wasn't quite sold on that short and pencil-thin player until later at a summer open gym.


"He got a rebound and took off real hard and was going down the left side of the court. The defense was set, but he kept going pell-mell, and I thought, 'My God, there's going to be a wreck here,' " Whitehead said. "He spun real hard, a spin dribble back toward the middle and shot a left-handed lay-up. He left the other kids standing there wondering what happened, and I thought to myself, 'That was pretty good. That was pretty good.' "


When Kingman shot up 7 inches between his freshman and sophomore seasons, it got even better. That growth spurt created what Whitehead calls a unique combination of size and skill that put Kingman at another level.


"One of the things that is really unique about Neal is that, although he stretched out so fast and even though he didn't have some of the strength he has now, he maintained his skill level," Whitehead said. "That's really rare. Typically, when kids grow that fast, the phone rings and they fall, and that didn't happen with Neal."


Other West coaches saw it, too. They tried to get him on the football field and tennis court. Baseball was the only other sport Kingman tried until this spring. He may already be on pace to qualify for the state track meet as a jumper in his first try with the sport.


Other things come naturally to Kingman, too. He carries 3.7 gpa and is involved in FBLA, Big Brother Big Sister and National Honor Society.


When he volunteers for the Junior Spartans basketball program, Whitehead said it's like Michael Jordan walking into the gym when Kingman arrives.


Whitehead will tell you it's as much because of Kingman's personality and behavior as it is his basketball skills that draw people to him.


"It's kind of grandfatherly talk, but Neal is a very good boy," Whitehead said. "He doesn't want a lot of attention. Yet, here it is."


Kingman hopes it's all enough to draw the attention from the right college. On the list of interested programs are the University at Albany, Oral Roberts, St. Cloud State, Loyola, Seattle Pacific and Furman University.


"I always said I wanted to play at the biggest school I can where I can still get ample playing time," said Kingman, who hopes to make a decision by the end of the month. "I don't want to go somewhere just to say I went to that school but sat on the bench the whole time."


The bench is a place Kingman never really got acquainted with in his career, but college ball is a long way from middle school, when Kingman said, "I was average if anything."


But since he took over as a leader as an eighth-grader at John Evans, Kingman's play has gone above the average, especially during that pivotal game his sophomore year that put the three-time all-conference player on the map.


"He really had good skills," Whitehead said of Kingman as a sophomore. "I thought about how to bring him along slowly, yet capitalize on those skills. But by Christmas, his play made it clear that he just needed to be thrown in there. He was going to be fine."


There wasn't anything slow about Kingman's rise to the top of Weld, and he did turn out to be quite fine.


Meet Neal Kingman


Greeley West




Season highlights: Kingman led West to a first-round bye in the Class 4A state tournament. His season high was 30 points in a game against Sterling in January, and only three teams held him to single-digit scoring this season. Kingman's efforts earned him the Northern Conference player of the year award.


Parents: Craig and Melanie


Role Model(s): My Family


Career Goal: Sports Management


Favorite Food: Mexican


Favorite Movie: Forrest Gump


Favorite Color: Blue


Favorite TV Show: Family Guy


Person I would spend a day with: Muhammad Ali


From a Colorado Recruiting Site:

Neal Kingman (6’6”-Greeley West) is one of the best kept secrets in the state. He is incredibly athletic and knows how to play smart basketball. He should make a big jump up the rankings very soon.

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This guy seems like a Levi in training, hopefully we can land him, or someone equal to his ability.



Intresting the Schools Looking at him


St. Cloud State DII School

Oral Roberts- 16th Seed this year Appear to be loaded with Fowards

Loyola- ? Not sure which one

Seattle Pac DII School

Furman- Same deal as Oral Roberts except they didn't go to the NCAA's also there head coach left for the Big East.


So looking at the schools that have intrest according to this article we have a good chance to bring him in.

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uadaneman- If your friend works for some AAU folks do you know about any of our current recruits?



I personally need a little more from a 6 time poster in order to establish credibility. Any one of us can say I have a friend etc. etc. etc. Everything I could find on this kid seems to indicate he would be a solid pickup. I’ve read several news articles and most if not all of them reported that he has solid numbers and that he is a good talent. Not to mention that he is ranked 17 best player in the state of CO. Now you put all that together, the numerous articles about him plus his state ranking, and I’m NOT thinking “Says sucks for what it’s worth” Google his name, you’ll find those things I read, you’ll just have to sift through the results. I’ll try to post some links either tonight or tomorrow.

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