If your team was protecting a one-point lead with time running down and you could pick any player in college basketball, who would you choose to guard the opposition's top scoring option?
Simply put Jerel McNeal is the best defender in college basketball, and he prides himself on locking up people. He knows better than anyone that it's his ticket to the next level.
I spoke to him a couple of weeks ago for another story, and here's how he described himself.
"I've got a good frame for playing defense," McNeal said. "I'm not tall, but I have long arms and quick feet. Everything else is mental things - anticipation, thinking about plays that the offense will make before they make them. It's a combination of physical ability and getting inside my opponent's head."
McNeal was 10th nationally in steals and was the Big East Defensive Player of the Year (notice he didn't share the award with anybody). He also thinks on his feet.
"If a guy makes a move and gets by me, it won't happen twice," McNeal said. "I pick things up quickly in a game. The next time he tries it he's gonna have a problem."