The Ragin’ Cajuns kicked off their 2021-22 men’s basketball season against West Florida in a dominant fashion. With contributions from just about every player on the roster, it was a thrilling start to the season, toppling West Florida 81-47.
The main takeaway from the Nov. 9 opener was the play of Cajuns’ big men Theo Akwuba and Arizona transfer Jordan Brown. The two were flawless in their action on the floor, putting up efficient numbers throughout.
“I thought we did a nice job of getting the ball inside early,” UL Lafayette coach Bob Marlin said. “Jordan and Theo did a nice job around the goal for us shooting the ball. We shot a nice percentage in the first half.”
The hometown hero and St. John’s transfer, Greg Williams Jr., played sporadically in his first official game in the Cajundome, totaling five points and four rebounds. It’ll be imperative for this team to let Williams get more volume as his game is extremely polished and ready for the bright lights. Coach Marlin detailed his overall thoughts on Williams’ debut and what else he’d like to see from the Lafayette native.
“I thought Greg Williams was really good tonight, too,” Marlin said. “Greg did a real nice job from an overall standpoint in the game. Typical line for him. He was 1-for-1 from 3, didn’t shoot it a lot, set other people up, had a couple assists, blocked a shot and just did a good job in his 15 minutes.”
To close out the second half, Cajun fans had the chance to see a star in the making with Carencro stud Joe Charles. In limited action, Charles made his presence known on both ends of the floor, even hitting a few three-pointers in his debut.
In the blowout victory, Charles showed what he’s capable of and made the most of his seven minutes of playing time. It was important for Coach Marlin to get him some time on the floor to get those first game jitters out of the way and boy did he maximize his opportunity.
“Joe’s done so well I told the staff yesterday that I’m not against starting Joe,” Marlin said. “He’s been outstanding in practice. You saw him knock in those two 3’s once he got the jitters out of the way. He’s going to be a really good player.”
Another exciting takeaway from Tuesday’s game was the chance to see walk-on Kentrell Garnett get his first collegiate start. Totaling 10 points and getting others involved, the former Catholic High standout showed he’s capable of playing in big-time minutes for Coach Marlin’s squad.
Garnett has taken tremendous strides this offseason. The growth in his game is extremely evident and this Cajuns staff clearly sees him being a focal point in this offense for the next few seasons.
The starting five of this Ragin’ Cajuns team is lethal and as the bench continues getting a feel for their role on this squad, it’s hard not to be excited about what this unit can do the rest of this season.
Coach Marlin’s group will be back in action inside the Cajundome against Xavier (New Orleans) on Wednesday, Nov. 17 at 7:00 p.m.