LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Since his arrival in 2018, Heath Schroyer has breathed new life into the McNeese basketball program. Helping lead the change of culture is someone Schroyer has had a bond with since day one, forward Sha'Markus Kennedy.
“He’s been recruiting me since the beginning of my sophomore year of college and we’ve gotten really close since then with me being here with him," Kennedy said of his relationship with Schroyer. "We’ve gotten really close like friends now.”
Year one under the new regime was a learning experience for all. In his first Divison I season, Kennedy averaged a modest 13 points to go along with seven rebounds. Following the season a number of new faces entered the fold and Kennedy knew it was time to emerge as the guy.
“Me and coach already had a plan set up to where I was going to be a main player who always gets the ball," Kennedy added. "I also had to be more of a leader because Coach Mike would always be on me telling me that I need to step up and talk more to my teammates.”
In his final go-round as a Poke this past season, Kennedy fed off the new energy surrounding the team leaving his mark on the program.
He averaged 18 points, 10 boards, and two and a half blocks a night as the Pokes reached the Southland Conference tournament for the first time in four years. Kennedy's scoring efficiency was notable as he shot nearly 68 percent, which placed him second in the entire country.
He received accolade after accolade for his monster season including being named the conference's defensive player of the year.
“I really think I had a good career," Kennedy admitted. "I made a big change from my first year to my second. My goal before I came here was to help the team get back on track.”
Though the pandemic didn’t cut Kennedy’s career short it has halted his preparation for the next level as he hopes to take his talents to the G League and eventually the NBA. His main focus now is finishing his degree in pre-dentistry and becoming the first college graduate in his immediate family.
“That’s going to be great. Making my parents proud is the main thing," said Kennedy. "They didn’t get to have the opportunity I’m having now and go through college so it’d be a big accomplishment for my family.”