The University of Louisiana at Lafayette announced the Ragin’ Cajun basketball team awards last week with accolades ranging from team MVP, Offensive Player of the Year, Leadership Award, etc.
This year’s team MVP was awarded to star point guard Cedric Russell. In Russell’s junior year, he nearly doubled his points per game from 9 points his sophomore season to 14.7 points per game this year.
Not only did Russell up his scoring numbers this year, but he was also called on to play crucial minutes throughout the season as a result of the Ragin’ Cajuns roster being filled with injuries.
Along with team MVP being announced, the Ragin’ Cajuns also declared double-double machine Jalen Johnson as the Offensive Player of the Year. After averaging a team best 15.5 points per game on top of nearly seven rebounds per game, it is obvious why Johnson received this award.
After sitting out a season due to transfer protocols, Johnson did not skip a beat as he took his redshirt year to prepare his body physically as well as plan mentally for the 2019-20 season.
This year’s Defensive Player of the Year was awarded to star freshman Mylik Wilson. Wilson nearly had triple the number of steals as the team’s second leading steal getter and wreaked havoc on the defensive end all year.
With an injury-riddled roster all season, the freshman was poised and prepared to put up big numbers as the team called his name all year after averaging nearly 35 minutes per game.
Wilson was also named to the Kyle Macy Freshman All-American Team as well as being declared Sun Belt Conference Freshman of the Year.
The Beryl Shipley Leadership Award was earned by Cedric Russell, who has been working countless hours in order to lead this team in the right direction.
Russell has been playing significant minutes since his freshman campaign and has only flourished more and more in his new role of being the leader on this young Ragin’ Cajun team.
“Me and the team, we talk a lot, and the guys look to me for a lot of leadership and stuff,” Russell said. “And they understand when it’s time for me to effort up.”
Head Coach Bob Marlin knows how incredible his point guard can be both on and off the court, stating: “He’s a wonderful young man. He’s got a tremendous heart, and a loving heart, and he wants to serve, and he is always helping people. I want him to have some success and enjoy his college time, and be the player he wants to be. And I certainly think that’s all in front of him.”
A player can only be as good as his coach allows him to be and Head Coach Bob Marlin is all in on Russell as it will be his job to determine how far this team truly goes next season.
With Jalen Johnson and Cedric Russell both back for their senior campaigns in 2020-21, the team will surely rely on their past experience and talent to take them to the promised land of winning the Sun Belt Conference and making it to the NCAA Tournament next March.