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Posted On: 08/3/18 1:00 PM
When St. Ignatius rising senior Neal Begovich was a freshman, he was 5-feet 10-inches tall, now, the 6-foot-9 prospect is a big, position-less prospect, and one of the best in Northern California.
Begovich’s dad played at Cal in the late 1970s, he was 6’8, so Neal always knew he was going to be tall.
Now that he's 6’9, Begovich is able to dominate anywhere on the floor. When he was smaller, which was most of his life up to now, that's when he was able to hone his guard skills.
“The whole focus was to be a guard as long as possible, because I knew versatility was huge in today’s game, and being a tall guard is a huge advantage. So, ya, I played the one and the two up until this past year,” said Begovich.
“I feel like I’m almost position-less. And that’s definitely what I want my game to be.
This past spring and summer, Begovich played on the Nike EYBL circuit with Oakland Soldiers 17U. It was the experience he was hoping for, and then some.
“It was an incredible experience playing against the nation’s best players at every position, every single game. It’s something I want to do for a long time and the Oakland Soldiers was perfect for me, it was the completely right decision to play with them,” said Begovich.
“The EYBL is the best circuit, I believe, by far, in high school grassroots basketball. The Oakland Soldiers put me on stage where no matter where we were playing, against who, there were 30 coaches to watch us play.”
With all the exposure and attention the Soldiers have received this summer has come the same for Begovich.
“My phone’s been blowing up since the Peach Jam and since Vegas and the EYBL sessions,” said Begovich.
Ivy League schools have offered him and he’s in “very heavy talks” with a slew of other Division I programs. Several more offers could be coming in very soon.
And though he’s got plenty of short-term goals on his plate right now, which include a successful senior season with the Wildcats, and playing D1 hoops, the ultimate goal for Begovich is to play beyond college.
“I’m prepared for my senior year and I’m also preparing to play Division I college basketball. I need to take my game and my body to the next level beyond that," said Begovich. "Because I’m not just trying to play Division I basketball, I’m trying to be successful and play beyond that.”