Neal transferring to Campbellsville

June 29, 2004|LARRY VAUGHT

Numbers tell only part of the story about Lyndsey Neal's basketball career and that's why she's transferring from Division II Bellarmine University to Campbellsville University, an NAIA school.

"I was just not happy team-wise," said Neal, a former Boyle County standout. "I didn't feel like we were a team. It wasn't about playing time or anything like that. I did not feel our team got along. Everybody argued and complained. I'm just ready to be part of a team again. It's about being happy."

The numbers indicated she should have been happy at Bellarmine. Her team went 21-9 last year and she averaged 14.2 points per game, the third best mark on the team, and went over the 1,000-point mark. She was second on the team in rebounding at 8.2 per game. She shot 54.5 percent from the field and 76.7 percent from the foul line.

But she wasn't happy.


"We were talented and had the potential to go all the way," Neal said. "But we lacked discipline. People liked to argue and complain. It just was not working. I can't deal with that stuff all the time. I was there three years and we never had a problem until last year. Before, we were always a family."

She had picked Bellarmine over Campbellsville after averaging 19 points and 10 rebounds per game her senior season at Boyle. However, she had already decided to leave Bellarmine and wasn't sure what she would be doing next summer when she worked the Boyle basketball camp earlier this month.

First-year Boyle coach Judie Mason offered to call Campbellsville for Neal when she learned Neal had left Bellarmine. Neal was surprised to learn that Campbellsville not only was interested, but that coach Donna Wise also had a scholarship waiting.

"I was pretty shocked. I didn't know what to expect," Neal said.

She'll be a power forward and small forward

After playing mainly center her first two years at Bellarmine, she moved to power forward last year. At Campbellsville, she'll be used at both power forward and small forward.

"I am more comfortable playing outside now that I have had some experience there," Neal, age 21, said.

However, one number won't change at Campbellsville. Once again, she plans to wear No. 23. She's worn that every year she's played except as an eighth-grader on the Boyle varsity when Alyson Dunagan already had that number. Every other year, though, she's worn No. 23 just like Michael Jordan did during his NBA career.

"I have to have No. 23. They told me there was a freshman (at Campbellsville) that wanted it, but she was not as adamant about it as me," Neal said. "I guarded the girl who wanted it when I went there to play. Hopefully, she'll give it to me or we will have to play one-on-one for it.

"I've just always been a big fan of Michael Jordan. I didn't have Jordan shoes and posters, but I enjoyed his game and admired the way he played. I have to be No. 23."

She hopes to become a math teacher and coach

Neal says she's changed her major four times, but hopes now to become a math teacher and coach.

"Math is the only thing I'm good at. So if I want to coach, that's going to be what I need to teach," she said.

Neal admits she knows little about NAIA competition, but feels she improved by facing a "lot of really good players" during her three years at Bellarmine.

"About all I know is that they are a really good team," Neal said. "I am excited because they are excited about having me. They've made me feel welcome already.

"There was a time I didn't think I was going to play basketball next year. But the more I thought about it, the more I knew I would miss it. I would start thinking about not playing and cry. I want to play and thankfully Campbellsville is giving me that chance."

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