Wade adds ex-Syracuse guard to roster

Published 3:14 pm Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Will Wade has added a tint of orange flavor to his McNeese State cocktail.

Just days after picking up a guard with history in the SEC,  Wade hooked another big fish from an even more traditional basketball pond.

McNeese confirmed former Syracuse point guard Quadir Copeland has signed to join the Cowboys next season in Lake Charles.

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The 6-foot-6 former three-star recruit became the third player to transfer to McNeese State from a Power Conference school this offseason. He is also the fifth overall to join a program that went 30-4 last season and earned just the third trip to the NCAA Tournament in McNeese history.

Copeland joins a three-headed backcourt that could include transfers, Brandon Murray from Ole Miss who played for Wade at LSU his freshman season, and Sincere Parker from St. Louis.

All three had offers from Power 4 schools and picked McNeese instead.

Also new to the roster are Joe Charles from Louisiana-Lafayette, and Bryant Selebangue formerly of Arizona State. Both Charles and Selebangue are front-line players and will likely fill the roles of C.J. Felder and Antavion Collum, who played big parts in the Cowboys’ success last season.

McNeese still has starter Javon Garcia and sixth-man DJ Richards on the roster, meaning there is more firepower than a year ago when the Cowboys went 19-1 while winning the Southland Conference’s regular season and postseason tournament championships. 

The Cowboys won 30 games for just the second time ever as a program and first since moving up to the Division I level. They won 25 of 26 games between Thanksgiving and the NCAA Tournament. 

But McNeese was overmatched by Gonzaga in the opening round of the Midwest Regional in Salt Lake City, falling 86-65 to the Zags. That seemed to only fuel Wade’s fire and helped produce this recruiting class.

“We will look totally different next season,” Wade said the night his team fell to Gonzaga. “I want to build a roster that is capable of just not making the NCAA Tournament but winning a game in it. I want to have a Top 25 team when we are through.”

Copeland might be the biggest piece of that puzzle. He came off the Syracuse bench last season and finished second in voting for the ACC Sixth Man of the Year award.

Copeland after 9.6 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.8 assists last season for the Orange. He played just over 22 minutes and had just two turnovers a game.

Copeland, a product of Philadelphia, is considered a pass-first guard who is like a coach on the floor. He finished last year hitting on 47.8 percent of his shots from the field but just 25% of his threes while making 68.3% from the free-throw line.

Copeland was a big-time recruit out of IGM Academy in Florida in 2022. He was a 3-star coming out of high school according to the On3 Industry Ranking.

“Quadir is a long athletic play-making point guard,” said IMGA head coach Chad Myers at the time. “His size and vision allow him to make plays for others that a lot of point guards can’t make. He is capable of getting to the paint and making plays for himself and his teammates. His length on defense allows him to guard multiple positions in the modern-day game of basketball where a lot of people switch.”

Monday the Cowboys as forward Nasir Mann entered the portal, the fifth McNeese player to do so since the season ended. He joined Wesley Fields, Dijohn Thomas, Cam Jones, and Trea English in doing so. 

Thomas has signed to play at Southern while Fields has moved to Division II Mississippi College. English has signed to play at Nicholls after sitting out all of last season while recovering from knee surgery.

With all the reshuffling of the roster, Wade has one more spot to fill. He is likely looking at signing another big player to help defend down low who has three-point shooting range. 

That signing is expected within the week.

“I am working to make this roster better, the entire staff is,” said Wade.

So far that seems to be working.