Wade talks about roster

Published 1:57 pm Thursday, June 6, 2024

With all his ducks now in a row, or at least mostly on campus, Will Wade spoke for the first time since signing his new class.

The Cowboys are receiving national attention with seven transfers on board, including three from Power 5 leagues. They have been ranked highly in all sorts of recruiting site polls as Wade heads into his second season as McNeese State’s head coach.

Led by guard Quadir Copeland, a transfer from Syracuse, the newcomers look to be even better than last year’s club that went 30-4 and won both the regular and postseason Southland Conference titles.

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While the talk is on the new Cowboys, Wade was quick to point out those that stayed. 

“Everybody gets excited about the new pieces,” Wade said. “We retained five of the eight players from last year’s rotation. We have a core of guys back and that is a big thing.”

That group includes three starters, Omar Cooper, Javohn Garcia and Defensive Player of the Year, and fan favorite Christian Shumate. There is also sixth man DJ Richards in the fold.

The biggest loss will be Shahada Wells, the league’s Newcomer and Player of the Year. Copeland will likely help fill Wells’ spot. 

“He is a very good player, versatile,” Wade said of Copeland. “We are really, really excited about him.”

One interesting semi-newcomer is Alyn Breed, a 6-foot-3 sharpshooter from Providence. After transferring at the semester, Breed practiced with the Cowboys last season and worked his way into good standing. He was impressive during those practices.

“Alyn has completed everything he needs to complete for us,” said Wade. “He has looked very good.”

Breed could give McNeese another weapon in an already loaded arsenal.

He goes with new additions Joe Charles from Louisiana-Lafayette and Jerome Brewer (Texas A&M-Commerce). The duo are a pair of 6-9 forwards who each played well against McNeese last season.

Guards Brandon Murray (Ole Miss) and Lamont Evans (St. Louis) are also already working out on campus. Murray played for Wade at LSU as a freshman so he has worked in the system.

Two more players, Sincere Parker (St. Louis) and forward Bryant Selebangue (Arizona State) are finishing up class work at their previous schools and are expected in Lake Charles soon. All will be ready for the trip to El Salvador later in the summer.

“We will play some good competition on that trip,” said Wade. “It is good for the team and gives us a jump on the season.”

Wade said this has been a much different offseason than last year. 

“We had more time now,” said Wade. “Last year we were grabbing what we could.

“What you are trying to do is maximize what you can do with what you are given. We can’t worry about what others are doing.”

The recruiting season began in March right after McNeese was knocked out of the NCAA Tournament in the first round by Gonzaga. 

“We knew what we needed to do when we walked off the floor against Gonzaga,” said Wade.

That loss has been fuel to the best recruiting class in McNeese basketball history. 

“Now it is a race to see who can get their group ready the best,” said Wade.

It’s a race McNeese believes it is prime to win.

McNeese Roster

Alyn Breed G 6-3 190 Junior (Providence)

Jerome Brewer F 6-9 216 Junior (TAMCC)

T’Johnn Brown G 5-11 164 R-Freshman

Joe Charles F 6-9 215 Senior (ULL)

Omar Cooper G 6-0 179 Senior

Quadir Copeland G 6-6 200 Junior (Syracuse)

Lamont Evans G 6-0 155 Sophomore (St. Louis)

Javohn Garcia G 6-3 183 Senior

Howard Gaskins G 6-2 185 Freshman

Brandon Murray G 6-5 210 Senior (Old Miss)

Sincere Parker G 6-3 195 Junior (St. Louis)

DJ Richards G 6-4 185 Junior

Mike Saunders G 6-0 189 Senior

Bryant Selebangue F 6-8 225 Senior

Christian Shumate F 6-6 213 Senior

Erik Vallarreal G 6-3 195 Freshman