It was the during the 2011-12 season, that the Oakland Grizzlies secured a commitment from Detroit Crockett senior power forward Lloyd Neely. However, after spending two years at Oakland, it now seems Neely will be taking his talents elsewhere as he announced on Sunday evening that he will be transferring to Saginaw Valley State University.
Back in high school, Neely was considered to be one of the top players in the city of Detroit. As a senior at Detroit Crockett High School, he averaged 25 points and 14 rebounds per game, earning him the nick-name Mr. Double-Double. In the same season, he was named 1st team All-City and awarded the Detroit Public School League MVP for the best senior player in the city of Detroit. When the time came to commit, he chose to attend and play for Oakland over Cleveland State, Central Michigan, Detroit and Western Michigan, who he also held offers from.
However, since joining Oakland, Neely hasn’t had much of a consistent role. Although he had his bright moments, Neely only averaged one point and one rebound a game during his 6-7 minutes of playing time a game. As an undersized power forward, I think Neely has always struggled to find balance at Oakland. Due to his lack of height and size he has never seemed to thrive at the power forward position but because of his lack ball handling skills, long-range shooting and speed, he struggled to perform consistently at the small forward position as well.
Now that he is transferring to Saginaw Valley State University, there is a chance that he can get back to the player that he once was in high school. Mainly because at Saginaw Valley State, Neely should be able to play more power forward and get away with being undersized. At 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds, no one can deny that Neely is as tough and competitive as any other big man on the floor. On the boards, he is a stronger rebounder. Offensively, he has shown that he can score inside and be a strong finisher at the rim but he also has a solid mid-range jumper.
I still feel he needs to develop his ball skills and extend his shooting range but overall I think Saginaw Valley State is the better place for him right now. He will be walking in as a transfer but I’m sure he will be asked to be a leader early on and contribute early and consistently when on the court.
Written by LBeasley (Lauren Beasley), Sports Contributor for Radio One Detroit