Louisiana high school guard with North Dakota ties commits to Bison men's basketball team
Evangel Christian (La.) Academy guard Lance Waddles has committed to play men's basketball at North Dakota State.
FARGO — Evangel Christian (La.) Academy guard Lance Waddles had the message “Going Home,” Sunday night, March, 20, on his Twitter post where he announced that he had committed to North Dakota State men’s basketball, even though Waddles has spent most of his life in Shreveport.
“A lot of people don’t know that’s where I’m from,” said Waddles, who was born in Bismarck.
While Waddles has primarily lived in Louisiana, he said he usually returns to North Dakota multiple times per year to visit family, including his grandma. Waddles has family in the Bismarck area and Cannon Ball on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.
“One of the main deciding factors in my decision is my family, that’s where I’m from,” Waddles said. “I’m from Bismarck, North Dakota. All my life I’ve lived in Shreveport. I’ve just been coming back to Bismarck a lot and visiting.”
The 6-foot-4 Waddles also had NCAA Division I offers from the University of Louisiana-Monroe and Florida International. The Bison and head coach David Richman officially offered Waddles recently. He is set to sign in April during the regular signing period.
“I know it’s a great program,” Waddles said. “I love how coach Richman approaches life. I feel like that was another strong deciding factor in why I came.”
Waddles also has a brother who lives in the Twin Cities area.
“I felt like coming back home, it would give me a chance to visit my family a lot more and be around them,” Waddles said.
Man I’m so full of joy for this kid. Tremendous student-athlete, high character kid, and of course a ball player! Remain humble and keep God first! Congratulations on your commitment to North Dakota State University! @CoachRichman @JoshSash @WaddlesLance @OWELA2 pic.twitter.com/BBVAehloGM— Eric Shepherd Jr (@CoachEShepherd) March 20, 2022
Waddles may have an opportunity to earn playing time early in his Bison career with six players from NDSU entering the transfer portal this spring, including guards Sam Griesel, Tyree Eady and Jarius Cook. Griesel and Eady were expected to move on as they were honored on senior day during the regular season.
“That was another thing that I took into consideration with my decision,” Waddles said. “I feel optimistic about coming into the season, being able to be an impact player and come in and make a big impact on the team.”
Waddles said he’s played primarily point guard throughout his basketball career, but due to a recent growth spurt, he said he’s also played shooting guard. He was 5-foot-8 at the start of his freshman year in high school.
“I’ve been playing shooting guard, but I’m more comfortable at point guard," Waddles said.
Waddles averaged 22.0 points, 4.0 assists and 3.0 rebounds per game in 30 games during his senior season with the Eagles. He shot 39% from 3-point range.
“I believe he can really excel as a shooting guard," said Evangel Christian Academy head coach Eric Shepherd Jr. "Now he can play the point. Because he can shoot the ball so well, he can play the 2. He has good ball handling skills, good vision, good feel for the game. He will be a great combo guard, but he can make some money at the two-guard position for sure.”
Waddles joins four other incoming freshmen. Noah Feddersen, a forward from Menomonie, Wis., Sam Hastreiter, a forward from Lincoln, Neb., Tajavis Miller, a guard from Lubbock, Texas, and Damari Wheeler-Thomas, a guard from Elgin, Ill., signed with the Bison last November.
Shepherd Jr. added Waddles has intangibles that should help him excel at the college level.
“His maturity is so adult. He is so ahead of his time with his thinking," Shepherd Jr. said. “That’s one thing that I really love about him is he’s just a good, mature kid.”