Crockett High’s Lloyd Neely is arguably the toughest matchup problem in the talent-rich Detroit Public School League.
After scoring 27 points with 14 rebounds, and 29 points with 18 rebounds in consecutive games against Denby and nonleague foe Flint Northern, the Rockets’ 6-6 senior forward has been named the PSL Proud Strong Learner of the Week.
“It’s a great honor,” Neely said. “I appreciate being recognized for my game.”
As a fourth-year starter for Coach Juan Rickman’s Rockets, Neely’s all-around game has commanded the attention of any team he’s faced.
“Lloyd is our workhorse and he’s such a matchup problem for teams because he can go inside and outside,’’ Rickman said. “When you can do that at 6-6, 235 pounds, it really makes him tough to guard especially at the high school level.”
Neely wants to finish his final high school season on a PSL and possibly a state championship team, but he has already started focusing on college. Next fall, he’ll be a scholarship player at Oakland University in nearby Rochester.
“I don’t want to say I’m a mama’s boy, but I love my family a lot,” he said. “There were other schools interested in me, but Oakland was the best decision for me to take my talents and become a good player in college. They go to the NCAA tournament and compete well, they have a great coaching staff under Greg Kampe and it’s a really good spot for me.”
Oakland’s Golden Grizzlies can expect Neely to have a strong upside if his improvement from year to year continues.
“I’ve got to work on my ball handling and get into condition,” Neely acknowledges. “But that’s the only downside. As far as my total game, I’m a really good player and I’ve come a long way. I used to be a fat, chubby kid who could just lay the ball up and rebound real well. But since I’ve been at Crockett under Coach Rickman, my perimeter game has really gotten a lot better and I’m doing things I couldn’t do at first.”
With a 3.0 grade point average, Neely plans to earn a college degree and then make a career in basketball.
“I really hadn’t thought about a major in college, but it probably will be in graphic design, which is what I’m learning here at Crockett in our vocational center,’’ he said. “Hopefully I can go pro (in the NBA) or play overseas and make some money. But if that doesn’t work out, hopefully I can fall back on my education and provide for my family.”
Neely’s vast improvement as a player has coincided with his growth as a young man, Rickman said.
“He can do everything on the court and he’s the backbone of our team. But his maturity and the improvement in his character, that’s the biggest thing about his growth that makes me proud.”
The Detroit Public School League Proud Strong Learner of the Week Award is representative of the league’s top boys’ and girls’ athletic performers and is sponsored by local Detroit area McDonald’s owner-operators