The Ragin' Cajuns Men's Basketball Team has a lot to be excited about entering the 2017-18 season. For one, they return four starters. UL brings back the Sun Belt Newcomer of the Year in senior guard Frank Bartley (15.3 ppg). A Second Team All Sun Belt selection in senior forward Bryce Washington (13.5 ppg, 11.2 rpg). Along with Senior Jonathan Stove (10.1 ppg in SBC play) and Sophomore Justin Miller (11.1 ppg).
"When we lost last year in the conference tournament we said we were going to work hard this summer," Frank Bartley said. "We had a chip on our shoulder all summer and right now we're we're practicing even harder."
Louisiana will also add three power five transfers to this nucleus. Newcomer Marcus Stroman from South Carolina is the projected starting point guard. While guard Malik Marquetti from USC and forward JaKeenan Gant from Mizzou are also expected to make big impacts.
"Me and JaKeenan at a top school in the SEC, that's like a lot of great competition so leadership, focus," Marcus Stroman said. "Malik, he played in the tournament. He knows what it takes to get there."
"It's good to have experience returning," Cajuns Head Coach Bob Marlin said. "The lineup will work itself out. We have 9-10 guys that can play."
Chemistry typically takes some time when mixing that much talent together. But the Cajuns say their 10 practices plus 3 games on their Cuba trip really helped to accelerate their bonding.
"Our culture is as good as it's ever been," Marlin added. "We're excited about what experience the Cuba trip brought for our guys both on and off the court. Probably more off than on because they're on it all the time. But when you go to a foreign land, you don't have internet and you tend to bond with one another."
"We got a great chance to bond on the court and get a feel for everybody," Stroman expressed. "Personally, it was good for me cause I didn't play in the whole year. So I got a head start really."
Roles are being developed daily, but when it's all said and done, UL believes the potential is endless for this team.
"Sky is the Limit. We've got so much depth," Stroman said. "Any given day, any of us can drive the bus."