The scoring will be missed. The court charisma, maybe not.
University of New Mexico sophomore point guard Cullen Neal will miss the rest of the 2014-15 season with a high-ankle sprain.
Cullen, who is the son of Lobo head coach Craig Neal, made it official on Saturday, Jan. 3 that he will apply for a medical hardship waiver (redshirt), per his father, Craig Neal, who is also the Lobos head men's basketball coach.
The announcement was made after UNM knocked off previously unbeaten and No. 24 ranked Colorado State 66-53 in Albuquerque.
In only the third game of the regular season, Neal brutally sprained his ankle in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off against Boston College on Nov. 20.
Neal had lead the team in scoring and averaged 24.5 points in the Lobos first two games.
"He's just not responding like we thought he would, he's having a hard time jumping and it's a really tough time for him because he's emotional," Craig Neal said. "That's just because he wants to play with Hugh (Greenwood) and Deshawn (Delaney). But at the end of the day, he's got to make a decision for himself."
Neal is known for his passion on the court.
Often jawing at officials and opponents, he has been the de facto emotional leader of UNM in his first two seasons.
In a game at Wyoming last season, Cullen Neal was given a technical foul for blowing kiss toward the Wyoming student section while attempting a free throw in overtime.
The Lobos did escape with the victory, 72-69.
It is notable that Neal sits next to his dad on the bench, he will continue to be vocal and aid the team for the remainder of the season.
His father said it's become a major topic in Albuquerque regarding his son by his side during games.
But Neal enjoys having his son next to him during the game and went as far as to complement his son being by his side. Neal said his son is a leader and compared him to a former MVP of a different sport.
"Ever since last year, when he played for us, he sat by me," Neal said. "He's out now, but he has been around our program, around how we have run our offense, how we carry ourselves and how we're supposed to act (as a program) since he has been 7 or 8 years old at practices. When you see quarterbacks, like Aaron Rodgers, guys like that who get hurt. They don't play, but they've got headsets on. Cullen knows our program and our plays better than anybody. He's a talker."
The Lobos have and will miss Neal down the stretch. UNM (10-5, 2-1 Mountain West) dropped its first conference game of the season Tuesday night in a 56-42 loss at San Diego State (11-4, 2-1).
The Lobos capped the loss to the Aztecs with and abysmal 29.8 percent shooting from the field.
UNM will return to action against Utah State in Logan, Utah, on Saturday at 9 p.m. ET.