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Former Basketball: Warner joins Top 28 honorees

Warner joins Top 28 honorees

The last time many of us saw Graylin Warner, he was part of a makeshift chorus line of UL Ragin’ Cajuns, celebrating a victory over Santa Clara at Blackham Coliseum that vaulted the Cajuns into the Final Four of the National Invitation Tournament at Madison Square Garden in 1984.

Players and fans enjoyed the moment as New York, New York blared over the Blackham sound system.

Warner will be back in town today, spotlighted at the Cajundome along with East Ascension coach Kenny Allmond and former Nicholls State and NBA player Gerard King on the final night of the LHSAA-State Farm Top 28 Boys Basketball Tournament.

When the Top 28’s Gerald Hebert approached Warner about joining a growing list of honorees for the tournament, it brought back pleasant memories for the New Orleans product.

"I played in Europe, and when I talked about going back home, that was always New Orleans," Warner said. "But if I had stayed in the States, my home would have been Lafayette."

Cajun fans were equally fond of Warner, who was part of a special era in UL basketball under coach Bobby Paschal that produced an 84-38 record, two NCAA Tournament appearances and the NIT Final Four in 1984.

It also didn’t take long for Sonji, Warner’s wife of four years, to be impressed by the Acadiana area atmosphere when the couple visited.

"Sonji said the people are so warm and nice," Warner said. "They’re not afraid to talk to you and make you feel welcomed."

Warner scored 1,762 points, collected 682 rebounds, distributed 274 assists and executed 153 steals during his Cajun career, then converted that all-around game to a 12-year professional career in Europe and South America.

"I was wide-eyed when I first got in," Warner admitted. "I had to prove I belonged, had to realize what my job was. That took about two years."

Playing in France, Italy, Greece and other locales, Warner became one of the game’s leading scorers (named in one poll as the best at his position) who was capable of signature performances.

"I was in a classic game against Real Madrid, when I hooked up with Drazen Petrovic," Warner said.

"I scored 47, he had 45. It went back and forth like that."

That experience wasn’t limited to the court, however.

"The first thing is, you learn a lot about yourself," Warner said. "You’re much more cultured. I learned to speak French well. It was something I felt I needed to do."

Warner’s time is now spent driving 18-wheelers, managing a couple of New Orleans properties with his wife, playing in over-35 and over-40 basketball leagues and coaching 14-year-olds in AAU basketball.

"Other than that, I’ve got nothing to do," Warner said with a laugh.

"It’s tough stretching my time out. I was trying to get up there Wednesday, so I would have more time to visit, but I couldn’t get off. But I’m looking forward to coming back."

Top 28 honorees

 

Below are the individuals who will be recognized tonight at the Cajundome for their contributions to the game of basketball during championship finals of the LHSAA-State Farm Top 28 Boys Basketball Tournament.

 

  • Kenny Allmond

     

  • Gerard King

     

  • Graylin Warner
  • Past Top 28 Honorees (1997-2007)

     

    Alonzo Allen

    Drexal A. Allen

    Billy Allgood

    Ricky W. Blanton

    Gale Breaux

    Frank Brian

    Clyde Briley

    Danny Broussard

    Kim Broussard

    Rickey Broussard

    Dale Brown

    Roosevelt "Teddy" Brown

    John Bueche

    Tommy Canterbury

    Howard "Hi C" Carter

    John L. Chaney

    Dean Church

    Edgar "Ned" Clark

    Aubrey Cole

    George L. Corley

    Robert Cutrer

    Joe Dean

    Dr. Edmond Dugas

    Gary Duhe

    Lenny Fant

    Kevin Figaro

    Jerry R. Flake

    E.W. Foy

    Irby Gamble

    Leslie Gaudet

    Raymond Germany

    Cordy Glenn

    Michael K. Green

    Sydney M. Grider

    Joel Hawkins

    Tommy Henry

    Tynes Hildebrand

    Dr. Obie Hill

    Fred Hobdy

    Benny Hollis

    Shelby Hypolite

    Rick Hucabay

    Kenneth W. Ivey

    Luke Jackson

    Ben Jobe

    Dr. Lanny Johnson

    Wayne Julien

    Gerald C. Keller

    Dwight (Bo) Lamar

    Ernest Lancon

    Donald C. Landry

    Bob Lane

    Edmond Lawrence

    Jimmy Leach

    Rodney J. LeDoux

    Alton Leggette

    Milton Linder

    Robert Lowther

    Ted Lyles

    Bill McHorris

    Durand (Rudy) Macklin

    Richard McNabb

    Billy Montgomery

    Eric Mouton

    Lyle Mouton

    Calvin Natt

    Bobby Olah

    Robert Parish

    Bob Pettit

    Johnny Picard

    Willis Reed

    Nick Revon

    Mitchell A. "Mitch" Riggs

    James Roach

    James (Jim) M. Roberts

    Scotty Robertson

    John Rudd

    G. (Glynn) Saulters

    Freddie Saunders

    James Shields

    Beryl Shipley

    Orvis Sigler Jr.

    Larry Simon

    Dale Skinner

    Byron Starks

    Roger Stockton

    Collis Temple Jr.

    Charles (Red) Thomas

    Tim Thompson

    Stuart D. Toms

    Andrew Toney

    Don Troutman

    Kevin Trower

    Mike Vining

    Dr. David Wallace

    J.C. Warren

    Hershell West

    O.D. West

    Billy Wiggins

    Larry J. Wilson

    Marvin Winkler

    Bob R.. Wright

    James Wyatt

    Daily Advertiser, March 8, 2008