A dedicated ESPNHS team managed the Gatorade Boys Basketball Player of the Year selection process, resulting in winners based on the program's three pillars: athletic production and impact in the 2011 season, high academic achievement and exemplary personal character.
For his 50 fellow Gatorade State Boys Basketball Player of the Year winners, click here.
THE WINNER: Cullen Neal
School: Eldorado (Albuquerque, N.M.)
Weight: 170 pounds
Athletic achievement: Neal led the Eagles to a 22-8 record and the Class 5A state title this past season. He averaged 27.7 points, five rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.1 steals per game. A two-time Class 5A All-Tournament team selection, Neal scored 34 points on 12-for-21 shooting in A state final victory over La Cueva (Albuquerque, N.M.).
Academic excellence: Neal has maintained a 3.97 GPA in the classroom.
Exemplary character: A member of the National Honor Society, he has volunteered locally on behalf of the Special Olympics and Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.
“The best thing about Cullen Neal is how much he loves playing the game,” said Eldorado head coach Roy Sanchez. “He’s always laughing and smiling on the court and he’s really become a great leader. This year he really helped everyone around him play better. Everyone talks about his scoring but he spreads the ball around and plays great defense. Once he did that, everything fell into place.”
THE FUTURE: Neal will begin his senior year of high school this fall.