Sports Person of the Week - Christian Shumate

Published: Mar. 10, 2023 at 6:34 PM CST
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - It has been a busy week for the McNeese men’s basketball team for a multitude of reasons, they made the Southland Conference Tournament semi-finals for the first time since 2012, which also happened to be the first time an eight-seed made the SLC Tournament semi-finals, and then the next day they let go of head coach John Aiken after two losing seasons at the helm for the Cowboys.

Because of all that went on both on and off the court, Christian Shumate’s historic three-game stretch in the tournament didn’t receive as much attention as it deserved.

Shumate broke the Southland Conference Tournament rebounding record with 41 rebounds, breaking the 33-year-old tournament record of 35 rebounds set by North Texas’ Ronnie Morgan back in 1990. In three games he averaged an impressive 26.7 points, 13.7 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block, and 1 steal per game as he helped McNeese to the semi-finals for the first time since 2012, and because of it he was named to the All-Southland Conference Tournament team as well, the only McNeese player to receive the honor.

Following the loss that ended the Cowboys’ season on Tuesday to Texas A&M - Corpus Christi, who went on to win the tournament for the second consecutive year, Islander guard Jalen Jackson, and head coach Steve Lutz praised Shumate.

“He’s a monster, it’s hard to keep him off the glass, he’s active, he’s real athletic, he’s strong, he’s a good player,” said Jackson.

However, despite his three impressive performances, Shumate left disappointed that he couldn’t do more to keep his team’s season alive for at least one more day.

“I just really wanted to win, we’ve got two senior guys that mean a lot to us on our squad so, I just wanted to empty the tank and give it all I got for those guys and try to come out with the win,” said Shumate on Tuesday night following the 80-63 loss to Corpus Christi.

Shumate finished his second season in Lake Charles with a season average of 15.1 points, 9.7 rebounds, and 1.0 assists per game. Shumate, who transferred to McNeese from Tulsa, faces a decision this offseason on whether he would like to stay with the Pokes and whoever their new head coach might be or to transfer for the second time in three seasons.