McNeese fills needs with half-dozen additions to men’s basketball program

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LAKE CHARLES – McNeese Cowboys basketball head coach Heath Schroyer announced the signing of six players on Wednesday, the first day of basketball national signing day.

Schroyer inked five guards and a forward on the day. Two of those guards, Collin Warren and Evan Palmquist, will be true freshmen; three will come to McNeese from the junior college ranks – guards Dru Huxhausen, Sam Baker, and forward Truman Moore; and one, guard Leondre Washington, has Division 1 experience.

The Cowboys signed G/F Christopher Orlina in the early signing period to give McNeese seven total signees this year.

“This recruiting class is the first full class we have had and the first with the new facility completed,” said Schroyer who will be entering his second season at the helm. “Every one of these guys are players we evaluated and recruited all year. My staff did a phenomenal job and worked extremely hard all year.

“First and foremost, all of these kids will fit and enhance the culture we established this year. All are quality people, students and players. They all come from winning programs, which is something we put a premium on. Their combined winning percentage last season was 81 percent (198-45).

“Our team will have a completely different look, feel and attitude this coming season.”

Warren is a 6-3 guard from Elkins High School in Sugar Land, Texas where he was a finalist for the Guy V. Lewis Award that is given to the top player in Houston.

He led Elkins HS to the Class 6A State Semifinals, and in a second round game, scored 29 points with six assists in a win over Lamar earning him the Region 3, Second Round MVP Award.

Schroyer on Warren: “Collin is a talented young man we targeted early in the recruiting process. He’s an explosive guard who can score the ball at all three levels. His size and physicality will also allow him to defend all three perimeter positions.

“He comes from a winning program and has a chance to have a special career. I’m really excited to coach Collin for the next four years.”

Palmquist is a 6-4 guard out of Concordia Lutheran HS in Houston where he was rated the fourth-best player in the 6A TAPPS District 4 league. He also earned first team 6A TAPPS all-state and all-district honors while being named to the 6A TAPPS State All-Tournament Team.

He averaged 11.1 points, 5.5 assists, 1.9 steals and 4.1 rebound per game this past season.

Schroyer on Palmquist: “Evan is another young, talented guard we targeted in this recruiting class. He is a big, skilled point guard who can score the ball. His basketball I.Q. and skill set are very advanced for his age. He comes from an outstanding program and knows how to win and make players around him better. I’m really excited to have Evan in this program for the next four years. He has a chance to have a very special career.”

Washington averaged 17 points and four assists at Barton Community College last season and knocked down 60 threes at a 37 percent rate. He signed with Robert Morris out of high school and averaged nine points and three assists per game while playing 22 minutes per contest as a freshman.

In high school, he was a three-star recruit and led his team to two state titles and scored over 1,900 points in his high school career.

Schroyer on Washington: “Leondre is a point guard that we recruited all year. He fills an immediate need on our team. He has D1 experience, which I love, and has played the game at a high level since high school. He is a tough, dynamic point guard who can score the ball and create off the dribble. I look for him to make an immediate impact both on and off the floor.”

Baker played at North Dakota State College as a freshman and Northwest Florida State College last season.

As a freshman, the 6-3 guard averaged 20 points, four rebounds and two assists while knocking down 125 three-point baskets at a 41 percent clip.

Schroyer on Baker: “Sam is a talented guard who we followed for over a year. He’s a big, strong guard who will play multiple positions here. He scores the ball at all three levels and can defend multiple positions.

“Sam is a tough kid and a winner. I’m really excited to have him in this program the next two years and look for him to have an immediate impact both on and off the floor.”

Moore, a 6-9, 225-pound forward out of Snow College, earned first team all-conference and all-region honors this past season while helping his team to a 26-7 record.

The Gilbert, Arizona native ranked second on the team in scoring with a 12.0 average and led the squad in both rebounding (7.5) and blocked shots (1.5). He scored double-digits 19 times and had 20 or more points five times with a high of 27. He connected on 56 percent of his shots from the field, 35 percent from long range, and 77 percent at the free throw line.

Moore, who will have three years of eligibility remaining, led Snow College to its first regular-season championship since 1970. He originally signed with Utah Valley out of high school but instead served a two-year mission in Canada.

Schroyer on Moore: “Truman is a player I’ve been familiar with for over a year now. He’s a mature, big, strong post player who is very skilled for his size. He is a winner in every sense and will bring a level of physicality and toughness this team desperately needs. I’m excited to have him here for the next three years. He will provide an immediate impact on and off the floor.”

Kuxhausen is a 6-1 guard who averaged 19.1 points at Western Nebraska last season.

He sank 51 percent of his three-point goals for the year (119-234), ranking him No. 5 in the nation. He also connected on 49.6 of his total shots and 89.1 percent from the free throw line.

He scored double-digits 27 times, clipped the 20-point mark 13 times, and scored 30 or more twice with a high of 33 points in a win over Northeastern JC as he helped lead the team to a 24-8 record and an appearance in the Region IX Tournament semifinals.

A native of Scottsbluff, Nebraska and product of Scottsbluff High School, Kuxhausen scored 2,110 career points ranking him 17th all-time among boys in the state. He averaged 11.5 points as a freshman, 14.2 his sophomore year, 21.9 as a junior, and 28.5 his senior campaign. He earned first team all-state honors regardless of classification his senior season.

Schroyer on Kuxhausen: “Dru is a young man who fills an immediate need in our program. His ability to shoot the three, stretch defenses and score the ball, are talents this team needed moving forward.

“He comes here from a well-coached, winning culture at Western Nebraska. His presence will make an immediate impact in our program. I couldn’t be happier to have Dru in our program the next two years.”

“I feel like with this group of players, along with several key returners from last year, this program is now in a position to take a significant step forward next year and in the years to come,” said Schroyer.

“I can’t wait to get our team back here in June and start laying the foundation for next season.”

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