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Tigers Sports

Lindens All-Time Great Guard Set To Have His Number Retired By JR Parachini

Posted Thursday, December 18, 2008 by By JR Parachini For sidelinechatter.com

Sometimes it takes years for a player to be recognized for his contribution to an athletic program.

Not the case with Linden's Desmond Wade.

Just nine months after Wade played his last game for the Tigers he will have his uniform No. 11 retired. His number will be the first one retired at Linden.

The ceremony will take place at Linden High School's gymnasium immediately before Tuesday's (Dec. 23) scheduled 4 p.m. Watchung Conference-interdivision battle with Irvington.

With Wade in the backcourt the past four seasons, Linden fashioned a record of 104-20 (.839), which included four Watchung Conference-National Division titles, four appearances in the North 2, Group 4 final, two Group 4 state championships, one Union County Tournament title and one appearance in the Tournament of Champions championship game.

For four years Wade proved to be one of the best basketball players ever to come out of Union County.

"Desmond walked into our gym as a freshman and we didn't know what would happen," Linden head coach Phil Colicchio said. "His journey was a magical one."

Now Wade (5-9, 155) is helping lead the University of Houston Cougars to a great deal of early season success. Houston has won six straight and is 6-1 with Wade leading the way as the team's starting point guard.

He is averaging 9.3 points and 2.1 rebounds and scored 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting and dished out a game-high eight assists in Saturday night's 92-58 home win over Mississippi Valley State.

"He's already fourth in the country in assist-to-turnover ratio," Colicchio said.

Wade will be flying in from Houston to be at Linden's gym in person to be honored Tuesday night. Houston's next game is this Saturday and then the Cougars don't play again until Dec. 28.

Wade played on Linden's team that beat St. Anthony for the first time in 2005. He also helped lead Linden to a win over No. 1 Bloomfield Tech in the 2006 TOC semifinals and another big-time effort sparked Linden to a win over No. 1 in the country St. Patrick's in the 2007 UCT championship game.

His ability to sneak his way past taller players to the basket and fill the hoop in addition to his tough man-to-man defense proved quite valuable in Group 4 state championship victories over defending champion Atlantic City in 2006 and South Brunswick in 2007.

"I don't know if we'll ever see another Desmond Wade again," Colicchio said. "He dominated for us from the county championship game his freshman year against St. Patrick's where he didn't turn the ball over once during 32 minutes of pressure.

"Right then I knew we had a special player. Each year he added something to his game and his character.

"I don't know if we'll ever see another Desmond Wade in our county or our state for awhile."

Wade, who dons No. 3 for the Cougars, has started six of Houston's first seven games. He's averaging 9.3 points and 2.1 rebounds, has a team-high 44 assists and is tied for second on the team in steals with 12.

Wade has scored 65 points, grabbed 15 rebounds (4 offensive and 11 defensive) and has shot 22-of-54 (.408) from the field, 8-of-20 (.400) from 3-point range and 13-of-19 (.684) from the free throw line.

After opening with a 65-63 loss to Georgia Southern in Durham, N.C., Houston (6-1) has won six in a row.

The Cougars' next game is at Toledo Saturday night at 6 CT. Their next game is Dec. 28 at 5 p.m. CT at home vs. Iowa State at Hofheinz Pavillion.

After Wade's final high school game last March, he modestly said: "I feel like I had a good high school career and played in some big games."

While Wade made his share of 3-point baskets, driving layups and always had the acumen to steal the ball away at the most opportune times, there is so much more to his game than just statistics.

Wade had the necessary heart and desire needed to not only succeed on the high school level, but excel at a much higher level than most of his opponents.

Wade was honored by The Star-Ledger as the Union County Player of the Year last season in addition to earning First Team All-State and All-County honors. Last year he averaged 19 points, eight assists, six rebounds and four steals. Wade finished with 1,546 career points and set the school's single-game assist record.

DESMOND WADE HAD QUITE A FOUR YEARS
PLAYING BASKETBALL FOR LINDEN

One of the more mature high school athletes any coach will ever come across, Desmond Wade was a quiet leader for the Linden Tigers, leading by example with his tireless effort on both offense and defense.
Wade helped lead Linden to a 104-20 (.839) record during his four years on the varsity. He became a starter midway through his freshman season and proved to be a clutch performer in many big-time games for Linden over a four-year career.
Here’s a look at Linden’s record during Wade's four years and some of the team accomplishments he helped the Tigers achieve:


2007-2008 (23-7): Watchung Conference-National Division champions.
Union County Tournament finalists. North 2, Group 4 finalists.

 

2006-2007 (30-3): Watchung Conference-National Division champions.
Union County Tournament champions. North 2, Group 4 champions.
Group 4 champions. Tournament of Champions semifinalists.
Linden defeated No. 1 in the country St. Patrick’s in the UCT final.
Linden won a school-record 30 games.

 

2005-2006 (27-7): Watchung Conference-National Division champions.
Union County Tournament third place. North 2, Group 4 champions.
Group 4 champions. Tournament of Champions finalists.
Linden defeated No. 1 Bloomfield Tech in the TOC semifinals.


2004-2005 (24-3): Watchung Conference-National Division champions.
Union County Tournament finalists. North 2, Group 4 finalists.
Linden defeated No. 1 St. Anthony at home for the first time.

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