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Sam Neumann of Cretin-Derham Hall goes up for two of his career-high 45 points against Roseville. Photo by Katherine Matthews
Get to know Cretin-Derham Hall junior Sam Neumann. You'll be hearing his name a lot the next year and a half.
Neumann dropped a season- and career-high 45 points on 10th-ranked Roseville Friday night. From long-range threes to driving the lane to knocking down fade-away jumpers -- Neumann did it all to give his eighth-ranked Raiders an 86-73 victory on their home court.
"Stuff was just coming easy to me," Neumann said. "I was finishing all my layups, hitting free throws and the points just kept adding up."
The contest was back-and-forth between the two top-ranked teams, but Neumann's scoring was constant. He put up 22 in the first half and kept the foot on the gas pedal in the second half with 23.
Roseville head coach Tim Critchley has seen this coming for a long time. He's watched Neumann play since second grade. Critchley said he was good back then, too.
"He's just continued to develop as a player. You can see that with the muscle he's put on, the build he's put on. He used to be just a long-range bomber that you couldn't stop ... now he's more of a complete player," Critchley said.
Cretin-Derham Hall bolted to an early 15-9 lead thanks to a slow start from Roseville and Neumann's hot shooting. But Roseville tied things up and took the reigns and remained on top, with a 39-38 lead heading into the half thanks to a 16-point opening-half from junior Kyler Briggity.
Neumann was slow to pick up where he left off in the first half until he nailed a trey from four feet beyond the arc, which pulled Cretin-Derham Hall within two, at 53-51.
It was all downhill for Roseville after that, as the Raiders didn't have an answer for Neumann's hot shooting.
"Sam is a rhythm player, and he's a special talent," Cretin-Derham Hall head coach Jerry Kline Jr. said. "I'm proud of our guys for finding him in rhythm tonight. He was really disciplined, because (Roseville) has a lot of bigs. We were able to get him the ball in the paint for some high-percentage shots."
Having already put up 39 points in a game this season and averaging 20.9 points a contest heading into Friday's game, Neumann is drawing attention from the college ranks just halfway through his junior season. And rightfully so, according to Critchley.
"The way he's playing right now, we'll be watching him on CBS in March Madness," Critchley said. "Where he's at right now is an elite level, and he's still got a year to go. The sky's the limit for him."