Tre' McLean had a restless night of sleep after University of Tennessee at Chattanooga men's basketball coach Will Wade sent him a text.
"He texted me that evening that we needed to meet the next day," McLean said. "I was nervous because what could we be meeting about?"
It turned out to be a terrific meeting.
Wade told McLean, who sat out last season per NCAA transfer rules and did not have a scholarship, that he had earned UTC's final scholarship for the upcoming season.
"He told me that he'd stop recruiting my position for next year and he'd give me the scholarship," McLean said. "Playing Division I basketball is a dream of mine.
"I'd told my mom that I didn't want her to pay for anything after high school."
Her largest bill for the upcoming season may be on a Shell or Chevron credit card for driving from Charleston, S.C., to watch her son play for the Mocs. She had about 30 friends and family members in McAlister Fieldhouse to watch them -- even without her son making the trip -- play at The Citadel on Jan. 6.
"All I've played is Division II basketball," said McLean, who will be a sophomore and have three years to play three seasons. "But I have about 100 Division I practices, so next year is kind of going to be like a freshman year all over again."
McLean, a 6-foot-5 guard, spent his freshman year playing for current UTC assistant coach Wes Long at Queens University in Charlotte. He averaged five points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game for the Royals. Then he followed Long to UTC, where he practiced every day with the Mocs and had the role of imitating the opponent's best guard during scouting drills.
"I felt like Tre' had earned it and had done everything we asked of him," Wade said. "I don't think we could recruit anybody who'd be more bought-in to what we're doing. He met all of his goals for the season, and you like to reward people for what they've done."
McLean is one of seven new Mocs who will be playing for Wade after an 18-15 overall first-season record that included a second-place 12-4 in the Southern Conference.
"Part of it was that he's a tremendous student, he's zero-maintenance and he has great leadership abilities," Wade said. "He's one of our biggest gym rats.
"It would have been selfish of me to sign another player when he earned it."
Contact David Uchiyama at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6484. Follow him at twitter.com/UchiyamaCTFP
David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...