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Men’s Basketball: Miller leavesl team, Cajuns sign Gueye

Tim Buckley, The Advertiser, May 10, 2019


UPDATE: UL announced Friday it has signed power forward DouDou Gueye, as it was reported Thursday would happen. An updated story …

With one season remaining in his Ragin’ Cajuns career, big man Justin Miller — a frequent starter — has opted to leave the UL basketball team.

He announced his decision on Twitter, right around the same time UL added a sixth new addition for the 2019-20 season, power forward DouDou Gueye (pronounced DOO-DOO GUY-ay).

“First off, I would like to thank everyone at the University of Louisiana, and the city of Lafayette, for welcoming me with open arms 3 years ago,” Miller tweeted. “I made friendships that will last the rest of my life and for that I am grateful.

“With that being said I will be leaving the program and will be exploring other options that God will put in front of me.”

He later tweeted this as well: "Never been the one to just give up, I’ve been blessed with hardships and adversity throughout my whole life to prepare me to bounce back." 

Related: Three-game Cajuns streak sparked by Miller, loss at ULM

More: Cajuns’ Miller takes Belize opportunity to find himself

On Thursday, multiple reports that UL is signing 6-foot-9, 220-pound juco-transfer Gueye were confirmed.

UL announced the signing Friday.

Gueye is a Senegal native who played last season at Daytona State College along with new Cajuns signee Durey Cadwell, a swingman who originally signed with Buffalo.

“Dou has a chance to be a special player over the next two years. He checks the boxes for what our program wants as a Ragin’ Cajun student-athlete both on and off the court.” UL coach Bob Marlin said in a statement. “He has the ability to impact the game in a variety of ways and is a great competitor.”

Daytona State College is coached by UL’s former director of basketball operations Brock Morris, a former South Alabama assistant who is expected to soon be named as a new assistant coach for the Cajuns.

The job Morris is expected to fill opened when Kevin Johnson left to join ex-Georgia State coach Ron Hunter at Tulane.

Gueye also had offers from Oklahoma State and East Carolina, both of which he visited in the last several weeks, according to the recruiting website 247Sports.com. The site reported additional offers from Seton Hall, Texas Tech and Arkansas, dating back to last fall.

More: Ex-Buffalo signee Cadwell joins Marlin’s Ragin’ Cajuns

Gueye averaged 11.0 points and 7.4 rebounds over 22.4 minutes with eight double-doubles while starting 17 of 32 games in 2018-19 for Daytona State, which went 25-7.

He will have two seasons of NCAA eligibility.

Dou is a special person and is an extremely gifted basketball player,” Morris said in UL’s release on the signing. “He also happens to speak five languages and was the scholar athlete of the year in our conference. He grew up in Senegal, moved to Japan for high school and his first year of University Basketball. He learned the American game quickly, and had great success for us this season.”

Gueye was the national player of the year in Japan’s university basketball in 2017-18, when he averaged 25 points and 13 rebounds per game.

Marlin was not immediately available for comment on Miller’s exit, a team spokesman said.

The 6-6 Miller was added early Thursday to the transfer list posted by the basketball recruiting website verbalcommits.com — bringing the compilation’s total of transfers to 807 as of Thursday morning.

Miller averaged 9.0 points and a career-best 7.4 rebounds in a career-high 25.3 minutes per game while starting 26 of 32 games for the 19-13 Cajuns this past season.

As a freshman in 2016-17, the product of Owensboro High in Kentucky and the 22 Feet Academy prep program in South Carolina averaged 5.2 boards and a career-high 11.2 points over 23.9 minutes while starting 31 of 33 games, including the season’s final 29.

With Missouri-transfer and two-time Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Year JaKeenan Gant becoming eligible for UL in 2017-18, and fellow big Bryce Washington, then in his senior season, Miller took on a reserve role as a sophomore, averaging 7.1 points and 3.7 rebounds in just 13.7 minutes per game.

But with Washington graduating, Miller returned to a starting role alongside Gant in 2018-19, bumping his minutes back up.

Related: UL forward Gant will get a shot at playing on the next level

More: Marlin’s Cajuns must move on without Gant, Stroman

Over the three seasons, Miller averaged 9.1 points, 5.4 boards and 21.0 minutes. He started 59 of 97 games played and finishes 121 points shy of his 1,000 Cajun career points.

Miller has not publicly disclosed a reason for leaving the program, but did also tweet, “Thank you to all the people that support and believe in my decision.”

He becomes the second Cajun on the Verbal Commits transfer list, joining reserve guard Jeremy Hayes.

Hayes’ departure has been confirmed.

Neither Hayes nor Miller have disclosed where they’ll play next.

But with both leaving, and the Cajuns six new players including Gueye, plus St. Louis University-transfer Jalen Johnson becoming eligible, that leaves UL one over the NCAA scholarship maximum of 13.

Besides Gueye the Cajuns have signed two of their other five additions this spring, picking up Jones County (Mississippi) Junior College-transfer forward Tirus Smith, who began his college career playing at UTEP, and, most recently, Cadwell.

Related: UTEP-ex Smith commits to UL; Johnson exits for Tulane