The Ragin’ Cajuns Men’s Basketball squad hasn’t quite had the year they expected to have at this point in the season. Bringing in numerous top tier transfers and returning much of their production, it’s been a struggle, but one bright spot for the Cajuns has been former walk-on point guard Kentrell Garnett.
Garnett, a Baton Rouge native, gave tremendous minutes as a freshman, with Head Coach Bobby Marlin elevating his status to starter this season. Being a walk-on player even when named a starter, Marlin and this program felt change needed to occur, so they did just that.
The University of Louisiana put Garnett on scholarship, proving how valuable he is to the entire team. It’s always a dream come true when a walk-on finally gets their shot, and Garnett is a textbook example of that.
Out of high school, Garnett flew under the radar, reeling in numerous offers from junior colleges and just one Division II offer to Dallas Baptist, but the goal was always to play Division I basketball. To compete at the highest level was Garnett’s plan.
So, to accept his walk-on opportunity at Louisiana was his decision and it was time to bet on himself. Though even Garnett may not have thought his success in the Cajundome would have come this quickly.
“I’m not sure if I expected it to happen as soon as it did,” Garnett said in an interview with The Daily Advertiser, “but I always bet on myself. I knew what type of player I would be, and so I decided to take a chance and come here as a walk-on, just work hard and eventually play.”
Garnett had the chance to walk-on at a few different schools before ultimately choosing to take his talent to Lafayette, but it wasn’t the easiest decision. The Cajuns had a myriad of guards at their disposal and Garnett was set to fight for his spot. He did just that.
“It was a hard decision, and well-thought-out,” he said to The Daily Advertiser. “I liked the coaching staff and I always wanted to come here out of high school. So, when they offered me the opportunity, and they said all I had to do was work hard to get the opportunity to play, that was the decision I made.”
Now, Garnett is one of the most lethal shooters in the entire Sun Belt Conference. With a quick release and the ability to shoot off the dribble, Garnett’s mix of talent and basketball IQ has slowly formed the second-year point guard into quite the player for Coach Marlin.
This year, Garnett is averaging 7.4 points per game, fourth among UL scorers, and 24.6 minutes, which sits him at third-most for this unit.
Proving to be a key piece to this Louisiana team and making the most of his chances, Garnett is the epitome of a true walk-on story. Succeeding on both the court and in the classroom, it’s what made the decision for Coach Marlin to put him on scholarship.
“Coach Marlin said it had nothing to do with me making shots, or anything on the court,” Garnett said to The Daily Advertiser. “But off the court, in the classroom, and being a good teammate. It was a big deal for me.”
With a few games left, Garnett looks to take this team to a conference championship in order to punch their ticket to the NCAA Tournament. It’s been a season to remember for Garnett, but the job isn’t done yet for his Ragin’ Cajuns squad.