Inducted in 2005
Roy Neal was born and raised in one of the tougher neighborhoods of Syracuse, an area that has spawned dozen of great basketball players. He had the good fortune to be a member of the Boys Club where the late Donnie Fielder took him under his wing and started him on his way to hoop fame.
Roy’s teams at Madison Middle School won the city’s Junior High Championship in the 1964-1965 season. His coach was Harvey Fisher and the kids went undefeated as Roy averaged 21 points a game.
At Central Tech, Roy made Jack Johnson’s starting lineup as a sophomore and averaged 16 points per game. He was named a second team CNY All Star in 1966. In his junior season, Central Tech finished second in the league with a 13-3 record and Roy averaged 19 points point per game. He was co-caption of the first team CNY All-Star and was chosen as of the game’s top five hundred players by a National Magazine.
It all came together for Roy and coach Manny Breland during the 1967-1968 season when Central Tech captured the city championship, the NYSPHSAA Section 3 title, the Westhill Christmas tournament and a sparkling 21-1 record. Roy led the league in scoring with 362 points, a 22.6 average. He was selected to the Pepsi Cola All-American Team by Coaches and Athlete Magazine.
Roy was a member of the first ever Parade Magazine All-American scholastic team. He played in the first Capital District Schoolboy Classic as LaSolette Seminary where his roommate was none other that the great “Dr. J” Julius Irving. He won the New England Boy’s Club “Boy of the Year” Award. Back in Syracuse, his community named him winner of the coveted Ormand Spencer Memorial Award as Outstanding Student Athlete.
On to New Mexico State University where Roy’s freshman team went 20-0, paced by Neal’s 20 ppg and 12 rebounds per game. The following season, 1969-1970, was the greatest season in New Mexico State history as the great Lou Henson led his kids to a 28-3 regular season and a third place finish in the Final Four at College Park, Maryland. The next season saw New Mexico State win 19 and lose 8 and earn another NCAA invitation. Roy played hurt with a pulled Achilles tendon. In ’71-’72 co-captain of the team that went 22 and 5 while Neal’s average was only 7 points and 6 rebounds, thanks to a career ending knee injury which required post-season surgery.
While his playing days might be over, Roy continued to contribute on the hardwood. He assisted the New Mexico State program then returned to coach Junior Varsity at Central Tech in Syracuse , Co-founded the Donnie Fielder Basketball League for inner city youth (now over 25 years old) and then coached the girls varsity basketball team at Fowler High School. He was an volunteer assistant coach for Syracuse University women’s basketball team and then he coached at Corcoran High School from 2001 – 2003. In 2004, Roy was inducted into the New Mexico State University Sports Hall of Fame.
Roy Neal currently teaches fifth grade at Elmwood Elementary School in Syracuse. He and his wife, Grace have four children, Damon, Johnquel, Kiara and Roy II.