High school Boys Basketball Player of the Week: Cornell Neal, Midwest City
Neal averaged 14.6 points while leading the Bombers to the Putnam City Invitational championship.
MIDWEST CITY — On the basketball court, Midwest City's Cornell Neal plays defense like a football cornerback in tight coverage.
Confident and physical.
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Neal, a strong 5-foot-10 senior, isn't afraid of a little contact, and he isn't worried about getting beat — and the same goes for many of his Bomber teammates, who came out on top of one of the strongest tournament fields you'll see this season at the Putnam City Invitational.
Neal, The Oklahoman's Boys Basketball Player of the Week, can score, too. He had 19 points in the championship game rout of Lawton Eisenhower on Saturday, with 15 of those coming in the first half while the top-ranked Bombers were putting the game out of reach.
He averaged 14.6 points for the tournament and anchored the Midwest City defense that frustrated opponents for three straight days.
But even Neal knows the Bombers can't succeed on the back of a single player. Their pressure defense and attacking offense are both keyed off versatility and depth.
“We've all been playing together for a couple years now,” Neal said. “Last year, we were young, but we have experience on the court now. We have good chemistry, and that's what makes us so good as a team.”
Midwest City doesn't have a huge inside presence with only a couple of players taller than 6-foot-2 on the roster. But the Bombers aren't afraid of big teams, as they showed against a much taller Lawton Ike squad Saturday.
“We just do what we do — run, play fast,” Neal said. “We make them adjust to us. Their big men can't run up and down the floor like us, so we make them try to adjust to that.”
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