Rebels land New Mexico transfer guard Neal

Published 12:00 pm Thursday, April 14, 2016

The Ole Miss men’s basketball team added a piece to its backcourt Wednesday with the signing of New Mexico transfer Cullen Neal.

Neal, a point guard, was a redshirt sophomore this past season with two seasons of eligibility remaining. Neal will graduate from UNM this summer, making him immediately eligible under graduate transfer rules.

CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein first reported the news.

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The 6-foot-5, 195-pound Neal started 31 games last season for his father, UNM head coach Craig Neal, and averaged 12.3 points and 3.7 assists. He dished out 114 assists against 101 turnovers and shot 35 percent from the floor, including 32.7 percent from 3-point range.

Neal will immediately compete to take over at the point for Stefan Moody, a two-time All-Southeastern Conference first-team selection who exhausted his eligibility after becoming the fifth-fastest player to reach 1,000 career points in school history. Junior Sam Finley and freshman J.T. Escobar, who also played the position last year, are both transferring.

“We are very excited to have Cullen join our program,” Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy said in a statement. “He is a versatile, experienced player who has performed at a high level under his father at New Mexico. His impact on our program will be felt immediately.”

Neal could make up a pair of new starters in the backcourt next season along with rising junior Deandre Burnett, who sat out this past season after transferring from Miami (Florida). Rasheed Brooks, who started 22 games a season ago, and Donte Fitzpatrick-Dorsey, who showed flashes as a freshman, will be back as will rising sophomore Terence Davis, who played in 20 games a season ago.

Neal joins a signing class that includes junior college forwards Tyrek Coger and Justas Furmanavicius, international big Karlis Silins and high school seniors Nate Morris and Breein Tyree.