Photo Credit: Jacinthe LeBlanc
By: Cole Shelton
Wayne McCullough has done it all for the Moncton Magic this season. The wing has started and come off the bench playing several different roles. He has gone from being a defensive first player in the starting unit to being the go-to scorer off the bench and knocking down shots.
How McCullough has been able to switch his entire game on the dime is very impressive. But for him, it more about just doing whatever it takes to help his team win.
"I came in started most games. Just kind of doing my role and do what I'm good at," McCullough said. "Bring my defence and rebounding and knocking down shots. Not getting to caught up on everything else and just focusing on what I need to do. Just bringing energy and a lift of the bench. I have learned a lot about myself as I was cut last year so I just learned a lot through those experiences."
He did exactly that in the first two games of the NBLC Finals. He was a go-to scorer and helped shut down the offence of Carl English and Glen Davis and others. Although he was arguably one of the best players on the court, McCullough isn't thinking about that. Rather, he knows there is still work to be done as the series is far from over.
"You can always do better but I thought it was a pretty good team performance," he explained. "There were a lot of guys who played well. Individually, I just made the shots I was supposed to make and keep the momentum going or build the momentum at points. Just keep us rolling."
Something he can't get caught up in is the fact that he and the Magic are just two wins away from becoming champions. McCullough understands how big of a deal it is, but is just focusing on his play and being the best player he can be on the court.
"To be honest, I try to be in the moment and try not to think of big picture right now," he said. "That is when you kind of get lost in the emotions. I'm just focusing on each day, each practice and each play of the game. For me, this is my third year professionally and my first year in the playoffs, not even just the Finals. It is a huge blessing, just crazy to think about. Hopefully, we can get it done and bring a championship to the city of Moncton."
What he can do to help bring a championship back to Moncton is simple. He needs to knock down shots which he has been doing. He is shooting 45.3 per cent from three and 34.6 per cent from three. Being able to consistently knock down shots is huge for McCullough's game.
"That is what I'm known for. Coming into the season that is what the coaching staff wanted me to do," he said. "I didn't shoot the ball well during the regular season. Just continued to work out and get better and more consistent. It is nice to see the ball go in more."
Not only has he been knocking down shots. But, the wing has been playing shut down defence. He is fifth in the league in steals and has been huge collecting rebounds for the Magic. For McCullough, he would rather be known as a defensive first player than the shooter he is known as today.
"I take a lot of pride in it. I've learned a lot with tenacity and tough defence in my basketball career because guys always wanted to go at me," he explained. "I take more pride locking down one of the top players than scoring 30 points. Being a 3-and-D guy is my niche."
In the end, McCullough and the Magic are just two wins away from bringing a championship back to the city of Moncton.