What’s next for Cowboys?

Published 12:03 pm Monday, March 25, 2024


If you liked watching the Cowboys this season, Will Wade thinks you will love next year’s edition.

That is, of course, if he is here.

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“I’m planning on being the head coach at McNeese next season,” said Wade. “Always and never are two of the specific words in the English language and I try not to use them. But I’m planning on being right here.”

With that answered, the next question for the Cowboy coach, who finished 30-4 in his first year, guiding McNeese to its first NCAA bid in 22 years, is who will be with him on the roster.

“The first part of my recruiting is to retain the guys we have,” said Wade. “We are a top 80 team with just our guys here, so we need to keep the guys who want to stay and add pieces around them.”

The Cowboys lost to powerhouse Gonzaga 86-65 last Thursday in the opening round of the Midwest Regional in Salt Lake City. That loss not only exposed what McNeese was lacking but seemed to fuel Wade’s fire to fix things.

“We got a taste of what we want to be, but we also saw what we needed to move further,” Wade said. “We have seen what we want to be.

We are already working hard to get what we need to take the next step.”

That work began likely on the plane ride back to Lake Charles Friday if not sooner.

“We have specific guys we are looking at,” said Wade, who could not say names but seemed excited about the group.

“We are going for broke and trying to assemble a Top 25 team,” said Wade. “We are going big-game hunting.”

Wade hit the recruiting trail Monday.

“Now comes the hard part of the climb,” he said. “The air is a lot thinner the higher you go.

“We are going for broke. We want to look like Noah’s Ark, two of everything.”

The Cowboys are returning a good group that have for the most part said they want to return if Wade is here. 

“I’ll play wherever Coach Wade is,” said guard DJ Richards. “He’s the reason why most of us are here.”

Southland Defensive Player of the Year Christian Shumate said the same during the season.

“I feel pretty good about most of the guys returning, but we work on them every day to make sure they know how we feel about them,” Wade said. 

That group likely includes Providence transfer Alyn Breed, who has been practicing with the team since the semester started. The 6-foot-3 guard has looked good in workouts. 

Last Thursday Wade said both big men, C.J. Felder and Antavion Collum would be looking for an extra year of eligibility, but that seems like a long shot for both.

Either way, Wade will likely need two more big men, a swing player who can drive and shoot from long range and a more rounded point guard.

“We have specific guys we are looking at but they have to fit our culture and our system,” said Wade.

He said a couple are even high schoolers, meaning maybe Wade is sticking around longer than people think.