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Cullen Neal leaving coach, father amid transfer decision

New Mexico redshirt sophomore guard Cullen Neal will transfer from the school after playing for his father, Craig Neal, the past two seasons, the Lobos coach told ESPN.com on Sunday night.

Cullen Neal will graduate in the spring and have two seasons of eligibility remaining. Craig Neal said he had no idea where Cullen would play next season; Cullen will be able to play immediately under the graduate transfer rule.

The starting Lobos guard played high school basketball in Albuquerque, New Mexico, while his father was an assistant to then-head coach Steve Alford.

"I grew up around the Lobo basketball program and thoroughly enjoyed playing here, especially being able to play in the famous PIT!" Cullen Neal said in a statement. "I was blessed by being a part of a Mountain West Championship and participating in the NCAA Tournament my freshman season. I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to play for my father for two seasons and will miss that in the future. Leaving my teammates, coaches, and all the support staff weighs heavy on my heart. I will miss all of them. I consider Albuquerque my home, and I love the University of New Mexico. I want to thank our great Lobo fans who have encouraged me and supported our team."

New Mexico officially will announce the move Monday morning.

Neal had a difficult time playing for the Lobos, battling multiple injuries, including a ruptured appendix before his freshman year in August 2013 while on a trip to Australia. Neal's erratic play at times led him to be the subject of criticism of the team, to the point that Craig Neal said during a news conference last month that there had been threats made against his son.

Craig Neal said the "death threats" forced Cullen Neal to change his phone number twice and close his Facebook and Twitter pages.

Neal averaged 12.3 points and 3.7 assists per game and shot 35 percent from the field. He had almost as many turnovers (101) as assists (114) this season.

Neal, who played at Albuquerque's Eldorado High School and was the 2012 Mr. Basketball in New Mexico over Bryce Alford, originally signed to play at Saint Mary's. Once Craig Neal got the job to replace Alford, Cullen decided to stay at home for the Lobos.

New Mexico finished the season 17-15 (10-8 Mountain West) and is not playing in the postseason.

"My wife and I love our son and respect and support his decision," Craig Neal said in a statement Monday. "We are very proud of the thoughtful and deliberative manner by which he came to his decision. As parents we could not be more proud or supportive of our son. Cullen's next team will be getting an outstanding basketball player and an even better person."