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Men’s Basketball: Shawn Long to return for senior season – his statement included

Tim Buckley, April 24, 2015

 

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 UL forward Shawn Long (21) was named to the All-Louisiana men?s basketball first team, released Sunday by the LSWA. UL forward Shawn Long (21) attempts a free throw during the second half of a men’s basketball game against Texas State in the Sun Belt Conference Championship tournament at the UNO Lakefront Arena in New Orleans, La., Friday, March 13, 2015.(Photo: Paul Kieu)

 

 

When Bob Marlin called on Shawn Long at the conclusion of the UL basketball team’s annual postseason banquet Thursday night, Long turned things back over to the Ragin‘ Cajuns head coach for an announcement.

It was a big one.

Long will return to UL for his senior season and won’t declare early eligibility for this year’s NBA Draft, Marlin told those in attendance.

"He decided it was in his best interest to come back to school," Marlin said by phone later Thursday. "He and I were talking about graduation, and what he needed, and to further work on his game. That was really it."

Long, a redshirt junior last season, is a two-time first team All-Sun Belt Conference selection.

The Morgan City High product averaged 16.4 points, a Sun Belt-high 10.2 rebounds and an SBC-leading 1.6 blocks game last season for 22-14 UL, which won its first two games in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament before losing to eventual-champion Evansville.

He also helped lead UL, along with current Orlando Magic point guard ElfridPayton, to the Sun Belt Tournament title and an NCAA Tournament appearance in 2014.

Sunday is the NBA deadline for declaring early draft entry, but Marlin said Long told him earlier this week he was "leaning toward staying."

Long was permitted by NCAA and NBA rule to get feedback from NBA evaluators on his likely draft range before deciding anything.

"He came to me (Thursday) afternoon and said, ‘Coach, you know, I want to come back,’ " Marlin said. "I don’t think he felt comfortable with the situation he was in, and wanted to come back and try to gain some momentum next year, become a better player."

With all five starters back now, the decision likely means many will consider UL an instant favorite to win the Sun Belt in 2015-16.

"Probably a few coaches in the league are not too excited," Marlin said.

It also means there’s bound to be change on the Cajun roster.

UL currently has 12 players from last season eligible to return, including two redshirts, and five signees.

"There will be some movement," Marlin said with no additional specificity. "It happens all the time."

Among the 17 is 6-foot-11, 230-pound big LarenzStalcup, a product of Wasson High in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and Snow College in Utah who committed Monday night to the Cajuns and signed a national letter of intent Tuesday.

"Larenz is a long, athletic post player who will help our frontcourt," said Marlin, who called him "an active rebounder and shot blocker."

Stalcup played two seasons at Snow, which he helped to an 18-12 record and the semifinals of this year’s Scenic West Athletic Conference Tournament.

Starting 28 games and earning all-conference honorable mention, Stalcup averaged 7.7 points, a team-high 6.8 rebounds and 1.5 blocks while shooting 50.2 percent from the field in 2014-15.

He reached double-figure scoring 13 times, including a season-high 18 points in a season-opening win over Impact Academy; 15 points and a season-high 13 rebounds against nationally ranked College of Southern Idaho; and a season-high four blocks and 12 boards in a win over Colorado Northwestern Community College.

On Thursday, Marlin suggested Stalcup’s presence combined with Long’s return should be a big boost for UL.

"Yes, we’ve been recruiting as if Shawn wouldn’t be here," he said. "So, it gives us some more depth inside. We’ll have a chance to do some different things. I like Stalcup. I think he’s gonna be good."

Athletic Network Footnote:

For Immediate Release by Ben Rikard, UL Sports Information

April 25, 2015

 

 

STATEMENT FROM UL FORWARD SHAWN LONG REGARDING DECISION TO STAY AT UL FOR SENIOR SEASON

 

 

"As previously reported, I have decided to not enter the 2015 NBA Draft and to stay at school to complete my degree and play my senior year at UL. My decision by no means was an easy one. It has been my lifelong dream to be a NBA player and I was blessed with an opportunity to be considered for this year’s draft class; however, my desire is not to just make it, but to have a long-lasting career in the NBA. Therefore, after careful consideration, several discussions with my family and guidance from Coach Marlin and the UL coaching staff, I am confident that my decision provides me the best opportunity to achieve my goal. Plus, I believe our team has some unfinished business. I am looking forward to my senior year and it is my hope and belief that it will be a special one for our team."