New Chattanooga basketball coach Will Wade hasn’t coached his first game yet, but he’s already demonstrated the work ethic he hopes will carry the Mocs back to the top of the Southern Conference.
Wade and his assistant coaches, who scrambled and brought in four newcomers—two of whom will be eligible for the 2013-14 season—after he was hired last May, have gotten commitments from two guards for the class of 2014.
Shaquille Preston, a 6-3, 175-pounder from East Jefferson High School in Metairie, La. is the latest commitment. He follows 6-1 Brandon Maxwell, who recently transferred from Lake Howell (Fla.) to Orlando Christian Prep.
Preston, known as a top defensive player, was getting attention from several upper-level Division I programs, including Alabama, Cincinnati, Clemson, VCU, West Virginia and Wichita State before committing to the Mocs. He was rated the No. 11 prospect in the NOLA.com/Times-Picayune Super 16.
NOLA.com wrote that Preston “has an uncanny ability to take over the game when his team needs him most, especially in the fourth quarter.”
Maxwell, known as a deadly 3-point shooter and tough on-ball defender, is the son of former Florida star Vernon Maxwell, who played in the NBA for for 13 seasons. The younger Maxwell averaged 20.7 points as a junior.
UTC is still looking for another post player, even though the class of 2014 will include 6-9, 220-pound redshirt sophomore Justin Tuoyo, who followed Wade from VCU and has to sit out this season. Last season Tuoyo averaged 1.2 points and 1.4 rebounds in 7.4 minutes per game. More impressive were the 11 shots Tuoyo blocked, which equals 2.4 blocks per 40 minutes. Four of those blocks came in one game against a Western Kentucky team that would eventually play in the NCAA tournament.
Another redshirt sitting out is 6-4 sophomore Tre McLean, who followed UTC assistant Wes Long from Queens University in Charlotte, where Long was the head coach. With a seven-foot wingspan, McLean is perfect for Wade’s “Chaos” defensive system. McLean averaged 5.0 points and 5.1 rebounds last season and led Queens with 37 steals.
Early reports are that he’s been impressive in the Mocs’ preseason workouts.
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