Jersey Monday: Gary Neal

NEAL BEFORE ZOD!

But seriously, if there's one way you're guaranteed to get me to buy your jersey, it's to be a pro athlete out of Towson University, my alma mater. It's worked in football and baseball (though I still have to grab a Casper Wells jersey), and this season it finally happened in the NBA, when Gary Neal signed with the Spurs.

Had Neal not played a single game this season, I still would have bought his jersey, but he did play, and he played well enough to earn first-team All-Rookie honors. And while some fans probably still know him as "the guy J.R. Smith dunked on", his clutch three-pointer against the Grizzlies in the playoffs went a long way toward re-forging that reputation.

I didn't get a chance to see Neal play at all this past regular season -- and who knows when the next regular season will actually be -- but I saw him in action twice this past weekend, at the Melo League vs Rucker League game and the Drew League vs Goodman League game. Neal represented Baltimore in the former and D.C. in the latter, which makes you wonder who he'd represent if the reported Melo vs Goodman game happens this coming weekend. No matter who he plays for, he'll always be a Towson Tiger to me.

Jersey Monday will continue every Monday until I run out of jerseys to spotlight. And since I’ve got more than 150 of them, that could be awhile.

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