April 19, 2011

Two Talented Playmakers Ink With FSU

Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University men's basketball team, which captured the 2010-11 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) North Division Championship and advanced to the NCAA Division II Sweet Sixteen, has announced the signings of two talented prep prospects.

Ninth-year FSU head coach Bill Sall has inked guard Drew Lehman (Toledo/Central Catholic) and in-state standout forward Tyrin Wade (Lansing/Sexton) to national letters-of-intent this spring.  They will join the Bulldog program as freshmen in the 2011-12 season.

"Both of these kids are winners who made tremendous strides as seniors," Sall said.  "We're excited both of them will be Bulldogs and are expecting them to step in and contribute soon."

The 6-5 Wade earned Michigan Class B All-State honors this past season after leading Lansing Sexton to its first state championship since 1960.  He averaged 16.8 points and 7.5 rebounds per game.

"We've followed Tyrin's progress since last summer and he really developed into a complete player this season," said Sall.  "He's multi-dimensionial in that he can post up, put the ball on the floor and also has good range on his jump shot.  In the state tournament, he was also impressively defensively and just did whatever it took to win."

The Big Reds entered the state tournament ranked fifth in Class B before winning the school's fourth-ever state crown.  They finished the year with a 26-2 record under coach Carlton Valentine after earning runner-up honors a year ago.  Despite an injury, Wade tallied a game-high 18 points, seven rebounds and four assists in the state championship win over Muskegon Heights (March 26) at the Breslin Center in East Lansing.

Wade was a unanimous choice on the 2010-11 Associated Press Class B All-State team.  He was Lansing Sexton's leading scorer as a junior as well with 15.6 points and 5.3 rebounds per contest.

A 5-11 guard, Lehman was a three-year varsity starter for Toledo Central Catholic under prep head coach Jim Welling. He averaged 14 points, four assists and three rebounds per contest for the Irish this past season.

"Drew's an exceptional shooter and an extremely intelligent basketball player," Sall said.  "He did it all on the high school level in terms of leading his team and is a tenacious player who defends well."

Lehman earned first team All-City League and All-Toledo Blade honors his senior season in addition to being a second team Ohio Division I All-District honoree.  His efforts helped the Irish to a 20-5 overall record after the squad previously recorded a 20-3 mark his junior year while claiming the school's first city league boys baksetball championship in 42 years.

The talented playmaker helped lead Central Catholic to the Ohio state semifinals before being edged by eventual champion Cincinnati La Salle on a tip-in in the closing seconds.  It was the program's first final four showing since 1949. Lehman was a Ohio High School Hoops Division I All-State Fifth Team honoree.

Lehman is the son of former University of Toledo point guard Jay Lehman (1977-81), who led UT to three Mid-American Conference (MAC) Championships and two NCAA Tournament berths.  He currently serves as Toledo's men's basketball radio color commentator.  

The heady guard is Ferris' first signee from the Toledo area since former point guard Dennis Springs (Toledo/Scott), who wrapped up a stellar playing career as the Bulldogs' all-time assists leader in 2006 and guided the Bulldogs to both two GLIAC Championships and two NCAA-II Tournament appearances.

Wade and Lehman join a pair of fall signees in point guard Dietrich Lever (Canton) and 6-10 prep big man Jared Stolicker (Middleville/Thornapple-Kellogg) as members of FSU's current recruiting class.  

Ferris State concluded the 2010-11 season by reaching the NCAA Division II Sweet Sixteen and the Midwest Regional Championship Game in Louisville, Ky.  The Bulldogs also captured the GLIAC North Division Championship and hosted the GLIAC Tournament Semifinals and Finals this past season.  They earned runner-up laurels in both the conference and NCAA regional tournaments.

FSU's 24-8 overall mark this year was the program's best since posting a 24-7 record and also reaching the regional final in 2004-05.  FSU posted its first NCAA Tournament wins since the '04-05 season with back-to-back victories over Wayne State and Drury (Mo.) in the opening two games of this year's regional tournament.

Overall, the 24 wins recorded by the Bulldogs this season is tied for the third-highest total in school history and FSU's 16 league regular-season victories was best in the conference and tied for the most GLIAC wins in Bulldog annals.

Nine members of the Bulldogs' 2010-11 roster are eligible to return next season, but FSU loses a talented four-member senior class that includes the Division II Bulletin National Player of the Year in Justin Keenan along with forward Lou Williams in addition to guards Matt DeHart and Darien Gay.

Note: Story photos are courtesy of Lansing State Journal (www.lsj.com) and Toledo Blade (www.toledoblade.com).

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