WHEATLAND – Few high school basketball players get a chance to play ball beyond high school, but Wheatland High School graduate Kade Preuit will be doing just that. And not only one game, but he will be participating in three different all-star games, not to mention that he will also be participating in the Shrine Bowl June 11 for football.
Preuit will be playing in his first all-star basketball game this coming Saturday as he will join other seniors in the 28th annual panhandle prep sports magazine all–star game which will be held at Gering High School in Gering, Nebraska, following the girl’s all-star game which will start at 5:30 p.m.
Preuit will be part of a twelve-man team made up of players mostly from Nebraska.
After playing in the Panhandle all-star game, he will be heading to the Shrine Game which will be played in Casper June 11 at 2 p.m. Three Wheatland High School Bulldogs will have the chance to put their Bulldog football helmet on one more time as Preuit, Jake Hicks and Ora Borton were all selected to play in the 49th annual Wyoming North-South Shrine Bowl football game.
Later in June Preuit is scheduled to be an all-star in the Wyoming/Montana all-star game. The series begins Friday, June 17, in Sheridan, Wyoming, and concludes June 18 in Lockwood, Montana. The girls games are set for 5:30 with the boys to follow at 7:30.
The Wyoming North/South all-star game which will be held at Casper College will take place July 23 at 5 p.m. at T-Bird gym at Casper College.
Preuit also has a friendly face and mentor who will be with him for at least one of those games. His high school basketball coach Mick Cochran was selected to help coach the South all-stars.
“The way I found out was that I got a contract to coach,” Cochran said. “It’s an ethics contract and not a paid contract, so my time is pro bono. I was chosen to coach the south all-stars with Tagg Lain from Cheyenne Central. Kade will playing on the south along with several other selected seniors.”
Preuit is a 2022 graduate of Wheatland High School and for the second year in a row was selected to the Wyoming boys basketball 3A east all-conference team. He was also selected to the Wyoming boys basketball 3A All-State team for the second consecutive year in a row. The coaches in 3A also awarded him for the second year in a row, the player of the year. Preuit was a match-up problem for defense, being too slick and quick for their bigs and generally taller than the opponents’ guards. Although he was a master of slicing and cutting to the hole with incredible body control and a larger-than-life hang time, he also stepped up this year to make his outside shooting a threat, leading the Bulldogs in three-point shots for the year.
“Kade Preuit was All Conference and All State, two years in row, 3a east player of the year two years in a row, and now the 3a player of the year,” Cochran said. “It has been great working with him and watching him grow as a player and young man. He put a lot of time into basketball, and became a special talent. He led 3a in scoring and was fourth in rebounding in 2022 and scored well over 1200 career points. His basketball future is undecided but full of opportunity. Being a player like Kade is very difficult. Jealousy and expectation run wild when in his situation. He handled all of this very well. He will leave WHS as one of the most prolific scorers and an all-around great person. We wish him all the best. Rodee and Kade have left their mark on WHS basketball, they have set bar for our young players to strive for, as players and as solid young men.”
Preuit hasn’t declared yet for college ball but is looking for an opportunity to keep his career going on the hardcourt.
“Well, it means a lot to receive all of those honors it means a lot to me because I have worked to try and be the best I can be,” Preuit said. “I spent many hours in the gym on my own time to be the best I could be. Obviously, I wanted the team to make it to state but it just hadn’t been in the cards for us that weekend but I had fun playing with the group of guys we had. As of now I just plan to play basketball in college I have yet to decide where.
“It feels awesome and honestly I’ll be playing with the best kids throughout Wyoming which just is an accomplishment alone and I can feel how the hard work paid off. Along with that I’ll get to play for coach Cochran for another game which will be great. For college I still have yet to decide where I will be attending but I hope to make the most out of these last few high school basketball games.”
Cochran has been coaching in Wheatland for 23 years and in the span of his career, he had a hard time trying to figure out his career coaching record only because those numbers weren’t something at the top of his list of priorities.
What numbers do impress him are the hundreds of kids that have graduated and gone on to be successes in life. Cochran is a coach that teaches a game of basketball and with it, a teaching on how life parallels the sport.
Cochran has had many coaching mentors, but one in particular that he draws wisdom from is the late and former Northern States basketball coach Don Meyer.
“I’ve never met him, but feel like I know him,” Cochran said. “I use a lot of his stuff and as far as getting into the kid’s heads and getting them prepared, Meyer was the master.”
Some players who have learned under Cochran for the past 23 years have gone on after high school to be successful coaches and have gleaned some of his teachings to put the “Cochran stamp” on their own programs.
Some players such as Bradon Douglas, now the Lady Bulldogs JV basketball coach came back and wanted to work with Cochran to further fine tune his own craft and to be able to spend another year with the coach.
“Coach Cochran will always put his team in the best position to win games,” Douglas said. He knows the game in and out and he is one of the few people I’ve met that can think two steps ahead or in this case two plays or passes ahead. Not only does he teach the game as well as anyone I know but also attaches a life lesson to every basketball situation. He has played a substantial influence on the coach I am but more importantly the person I am. There is one quote that has stuck with me and is true in every situation I’ve been in, “life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react.”
To teach a student is a powerful thing. To have him recite your creed is inspiring.