Talking basketball in Sept.

Big numbers turn out for McNeese banquet

<p class="indent">McNeese State basketball donors got their first taste of the Heath Schroyer era Wednesday night as they packed the L’Auberge Casino and Resort Event Center for the annual fundraising banquet and auction.<p><strong>Will Wade</strong></p><p>LSU basketball coach </p>Joshua L. Jones/Athens Banner-Herald via AP

<p class="indent">Those in attendance were treated to a keynote address by LSU basketball coach Will Wade, who wasted no time getting on the Cowboys faithful’s good side.

<p class="indent">“I get a lot better reception here in Lake Charles than I do in Lafayette,” Wade said. “I’m really interested in that game Dec. 18. (against Louisiana-Lafayette). I’ll be rooting for the Cowboys, I can assure you.”

{{tncms-inline account="TylerAmPress" html="&amp;lt;blockquote class=&amp;quot;twitter-tweet&amp;quot;&amp;gt;&amp;lt;p lang=&amp;quot;en&amp;quot; dir=&amp;quot;ltr&amp;quot;&amp;gt;Will Wade assures &amp;lt;a href=&amp;quot;https://twitter.com/hashtag/McNeese?src=hash&amp;amp;amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw&amp;quot;&amp;gt;#McNeese&amp;lt;/a&amp;gt; fans he&amp;amp;#39;ll be rooting for the Cowboys on Dec. 18… When they play Louisiana-Lafayette.&amp;lt;/p&amp;gt;&amp;amp;mdash; Tyler Nunez (@TylerAmPress) &amp;lt;a href=&amp;quot;https://twitter.com/TylerAmPress/status/1037498425267417089?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw&amp;quot;&amp;gt;September 6, 2018&amp;lt;/a&amp;gt;&amp;lt;/blockquote&amp;gt;" id="1037498425267417089" type="twitter"}}

Wade echoed what he said about Schroyer when the hire was first made in March. He said the Cowboys have a good coach who knows how to win, and he expects Schroyer to turn the McNeese program around quickly.

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<div class="Content"><p class="indent">“You guys hired a winner,” Wade said. “You hired a guy who is going to get the job done. He’s gotten it done everywhere he’s been. And this is a place where he’s got resources that are much more comparable to the rest of the league.”

<p class="indent">Assistant coach John Aiken said the entire event came together in the span of just more than a month, with the first meeting taking place on Aug. 2.

<p class="indent">That proved to be enough time to impress McNeese Director of Athletics Bruce Hemphill, who called the soldout event “first class,” saying it set the bar for the rest of the program.

<p class="indent">“The excitement in Lake Charles for basketball has hit a new height,” Hemphill said. “Just the number of people we have at this event … this is absolutely a first.

<p class="indent">“When you have between 400 and 500 people coming out in September for a basketball banquet, that is impressive.”

<p class="indent">Schroyer wasted no time getting things started, first thanking the people who made the event happen, then telling the crowd exactly what his expectations were for the program.

<p class="indent">“I told everyone that I have a vision, a passion and a commitment to put this program back on the map,” Schroyer said. “We’re on our way to doing that. Tonight is a window into what we envision this program to be with the energy, the passion and the people in this room.”

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<strong>‘You guys hired a winner. You hired a guy who is going to get the job done.’</strong>

Will Wade

LSU head coach, keynote speaker