A unenviable situation for the UW-Parkside men’s basketball program just took a turn for the worse.
Senior Kendale McCullum, a first-team All-Great Lakes Valley Conference guard last season, is transferring to GLVC rival Lewis in the aftermath of 12 sanctions imposed on Parkside’s athletic program for NCAA compliance violations last week.
The sanctions ban all Parkside athletic teams from postseason GLVC and NCAA tournament competition for the 2017-18 academic year. Parkside coach Luke Reigel has led the Rangers to the NCAA Division II Tournament each of the past five seasons.
For Reigel, the loss of McCullum represents a devastating blow to his program, not to mention what he considers to be a personal one.
“Kendale had no desire to redshirt this year and I’m not as comfortable taking away opportunities from innocent student athletes as the GLVC is, so he decided to transfer,” Reigel wrote in an email to The Journal Times. “And let’s not kid ourselves. The people in charge knew this could happen when they handed down this asinine punishment. They knew that their decision would have a major impact on all the programs at Parkside, particularly ours.
“This is personal. They are trying to destroy everything we’ve built and in the meantime harm my career and family. But that isn’t going to happen.”
The 6-foot-1 McCullum has appeared in 59 games the last two seasons, with 58 starts. He ranked first on the Rangers last season in minutes played (31.1), assists (6.1) and steals (2.6), second in scoring (15.3) and third in rebounds (4.7).
With McCullum as one of the mainstays, Parkside went 22-8 last season after finishing 25-6 during the 2015-16 season, his first as a starter.
For Reigel, this entire episode has emboldened him to rebuild his program.
“We still have high-character men in the program who are dedicated to UWP,” Reigel wrote. “I have a tremendous amount of respect for the coaches throughout our department and now we have an athletic director (Amdrew Gavin) who has a vision and plan to emhance the lives pf both the students and the coaches.
“I’ve never been more determined to make our program successful or more excited to be at Parkside.”