3-point shot: Neal makes sense for Lobos

April, 1, 2013
4/01/13
5:00
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1. If New Mexico doesn't hire associate coach Craig Neal to replace Steve Alford then there is a legit chance that star players Alex Kirk, Kendall Williams and Tony Snell will go elsewhere, according to multiple sources. Of course, players can end up reconsidering depending on the hire but this possibility exists. There are five reasons (and more) why Neal fits now: 1. He allows for continuity of the success the Lobos have had and the current culture at UNM; 2. Neal has been a part of every major decision in the past six years in creating one of the most successful runs in UNM history; 3. Neal recruited every player on the team and those committed to playing for the Lobos; 4. Neal is well-liked by the administration and boosters and within the community; 5. He's ready. He was a candidate at his alma mater, Georgia Tech, and hiring an assistant -- if it's the right one at the right time -- is more than acceptable at New Mexico.

2. Georgia State returns four starters next season, including coach Ron Hunter's son, R.J., who led the team in scoring at 17 points a game, and the addition of Kentucky transfer guard Ryan Harrow will only make the Panthers more effective next season. Georgia State (15-16, 10-8 in the CAA) will join the Sun Belt next season. Harrow will likely receive a waiver to play immediately because of his ill father. Hunter said Harrow will definitely help his son become an even more productive player. Georgia State will send in the waiver immediately for Harrow to play next season. Kentucky was at 13 scholarships with Harrow and now without him the Wildcats will be down one but are still actively pursuing the last elite player in the class of 2013 in Andrew Wiggins. Harrow's loss won't be felt too badly at Kentucky with the arrival of Andrew and Aaron Harrison, both expected to start next season and eventually become NBA-level talent.

3. Wichita State's Gregg Marshall will be one of the hottest names in college basketball. But there isn't an elite job open for him right now and with a $1 million salary and a team that can win the Missouri Valley Conference every year there is no need to leave. Marshall will also want to enjoy being in the Final Four (and who knows, playing in the final or winning it all next week). He can be the toast of Wichita for a year and beyond so there's no reason to not enjoy this after all the hard work. Wichita State will have to pay Marshall even more and likely will after this historic run to the Final Four.

Andy Katz | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com

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