BY DUDLEY E. DAWSON

The way Las Vegas prep baseball star and Arkansas signee Mason Neville sees it, Tuesday afternoon was a big win-win for him.

Neville (6-3, 200), a lefty-swinging and throwing center fielder projected as a top 100 pick in the 2022 Major League Baseball Draft, was selected by the Cincinnati Reds in the 18th round.

He also got on the phone with Razorback head coach Dave Van Horn to let him now he would indeed be at Arkansas next season.

“I just got done talking to Coach Van Horn and we are both very excited and have some big goals coming up,” Neville told Hogville.net Tuesday shortly after the 20-round draft ended. “The goal to go in and play center field right away and that is the plan right now.

“But I am a team guy and if they need me to play first base or left field or right field. Whatever they need me to do, I will be that guy 100 percent.”

The Razorbacks’ recent success has Neville, who hit .383 this past season with a .514 on-base percentage, relishing what could happen while he is on campus.

“I am going to come out there and work hard,” Neville said. “I am just excited to get to Fayetteville and start working with all the guys and get ready in the off season to go win the national championship. We are both super pumped.”

Neville confirmed that he told MLB clubs it would take first- or second-round money, which is in millions, to turn down going to Arkansas.

“I’ve always had the dream of being a professional baseball player and just having my name called in the draft was spectacular,” Neville said. “It was great to go through that whole thing and also see my buddies get drafted. I am happy for everyone.

“But I set a high price because I know how important Arkansas is for me, how the facilities are, how great the coaches are, just the winning culture and how great the fans are. That was worth setting a price for and I know I will be in great hands at the University of Arkansas.”

Neville got a chance to see the fans first hand when he visited Arkansas on a weekend that the Razorbacks were having a baseball scrimmage and the football team was hosting Texas.

“I was blessed to be in contact with Coach Van Horn and (hitting coach) Nate Thompson and given their track record made it a great opportunity for me,” noted Neville, who was previously committed to Arizona. “I came out for a visit and we got to see everything.

“We went to a (baseball) scrimmage game and there were 3,000 there and then a football game where there was 73,000. I remember telling my parents that this is where I need to be. I had never seen anything like this.”

Neville is consider a five tool player that has speed, power, hitting for average, fielding and arm strength.

“I am real confident in all my tools,” Neville said. “I feel like I can go in there and make an impact right away in the outfield, on the bases and driving runs in or moving guys over.

“I’m continuing to grow a a baseball player, know I have room for improvement and am excited I am going to be with the Arkansas coaches and working on my craft. I will become a better hitter and a better ball player all around while going in and impacting the program from the get-go.”