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Front Row: Spurs Made Good Call On Gary Neal

November 15, 2010

Gary Neal
(Towson Athletics Athletics)
Three years ago, local basketball fans wondered if Towson Tigers forward Gary Neal could make it in the NBA. It may not have been an instant answer, but Neal has silenced the critics after finding an NBA home in San Antonio, where he signed a three-year guaranteed contract with the Spurs after dazzling the team in the NBA Summer League.

Since leaving Towson, Neal's basketball journey took him to Turkey, where he played for Pinar Karsiyaka and led the Turkish Basketball League with a 26.5 points per game average, and to Italy, where he spent two years with Benetton Treviso and averaged 19.4 points to lead the Italian League in scoring. He also spent some time in Spain.

His journey to the NBA may have been a long one, but the Aberdeen native wasted no time showing the Spurs they made the right choice. The 26-year-old rookie played in San Antonio's first six games, averaging 7.7 points, and has shown his ability to score in bunches, hitting five of seven three-pointers in just 14 minutes of the Spurs' 95-91 win over the Charlotte Bobcats Nov. 8. 

Neal, who broke 14 school records and scored more than 1,200 points in two seasons at Towson after transferring from LaSalle, is the second player from Towson to make it to the NBA. Kurk Lee, who led the Tigers to their first NCAA tournament appearance two decades ago, played one season with the New Jersey Nets before moving his game overseas.

-- Kevin Heitz

FROM THE CHEAP SEATS 

Who Were Those Guys: It's obvious the Navy football players who thrashed Notre Dame and hung up 70-plus on East Carolina were not the same gents who lost to Duke. Conspiracy theorists say it smells of a military operation involving the import of doppelgängers from a parallel world for the Duke game.

• It's obvious the Navy football players who thrashed Notre Dame and hung up 70-plus on East Carolina were not the same gents who lost to Duke. Conspiracy theorists say it smells of a military operation involving the import of doppelgängers from a parallel world for the Duke game.

Sound Bites: Isn't it funny when the TV announcers get all excited about a tackle and yell "listen to the hit," and the subsequent audio is the sound of one hand clapping.

For Real: A business journal reports the NFL owners' war fund has reached $900 million. Maybe the lockout threat is not just saber rattling after all.

Please Disregard: NBA boss David Stern wants to reduce salaries drastically, so the Portland Trail Blazers gave Wes Matthews, an undrafted sub, $45 million and Memphis did the same for Mike Conley, who won't make anybody forget Steve Nash.

Transformation: Speaking of the NBA, who could have predicted Joakim Noah, tall but never very athletic or smooth at Florida, would be leading the league in rebounds and consistently hitting that goofy two-handed shot for the Chicago Bulls?

Issue 155: November 2010

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