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Basketball: Three more Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns basketball games lost to COVID-19

Tim Buckley, The Advertiser, Nov. 22, 2020

Editor’s note: This story has been updated from its original version …

The UL basketball program has lost three more games – one for its men’s team, two for its women – to the COVID-19 pandemic.

That includes scheduled season openers for both.

On the men’s side, UL said Wednesday night’s game against Xavier-Louisiana at the Cajundome has been canceled due to COVID issues within Xavier’s program. That leaves the Ragin’ Cajuns six non-conference games, including four at home. Their new opener is now Nov. 28 vs. Loyola-New Orleans.

Much earlier this year, after the NCAA delayed the start of the season due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Cajuns also lost a Nov. 10 game at Texas that originally was to have been their opener. They also lost a game at Southern Miss for the same reason.

More:Cajun coaches think basketball will happen, but when?

UL coach Bob Marlin said a replacement opponent for Xavier-Louisiana couldn’t be scheduled on short notice “because a lot of … teams do not have the same (COVID-19) testing protocols that we have.”

As of Wednesday the Cajuns had no COVID-19 issues within their men’s program, athletic director Bryan Maggard said and Marlin confirmed.

But UL also said its women’s team’s opener Wednesday against New Orleans on Nov. 25 and its Nov. 30 game against Loyola-New Orleans have been canceled due to positive tests and contact tracing within the Cajuns’ program.

UL’s new women’s opener is Dec. 4 vs. North Texas at the Cajundome. On Friday, the Cajun women added a Dec. 16 non-conference game against Rice in Houston.

The Cajuns and coronavirus:Heart concerns the real deal

Gordon’s appeal approved by NCAA

The Cajuns learned this week that the NCAA has approved a transfer waiver for 6-foot-7 forward Jacobi Gordon, who averaged 2.3 points and 1.6 rebounds in 36 games over the past two seasons at Cal.

Marlin said Gordon’s initial request to avoid sitting out the 2020-21 season in accord with transfer rules was denied, but his appeal was approved.

“He can score the ball, has a good touch, has a good feel for the game,” Marlin said, “and I think he really gives us some stability on the offensive end.”

Julien, Cadwell will be out a while

Marlin said there’s a chance, “if things go the way the doctor said and projected,” that one or both of two injured Cajuns, Kobe Julien and Durey Cadwell, could be back by “the end of January.”

The Cajuns, Marlin said, “felt like Kobe was our best player last year. … He was on pace to be the Sun Belt Freshman of the Year.”

Both underwent knee cleanup follow-up surgeries in early November, according to Marlin.

Julien, a versatile starting forward, missed most of last season after getting injured during non-conference play. Cadwell, a defensive-minded transfer guard who originally signed with Buffalo of the MAC and would have been a rotation regular, missed all of it.

“Hopefully we can get Kobe and Durey back,” Marlin said. “Maybe that will give us the punch we need to get to the conference season and win the (Sun Belt) Tournament and get to the NCAA Tournament.

“But losing those guys we really took a hit.”

Marlin also said reserve point guard Trajan Wesley hasn’t practiced lately due to a lingering foot injury, “which is a concern.” But guard Cedric Russell, UL’s top returning scorer, said his previously broken foot, which was problematic late last season, is “good.”

Related:Broken foot fixed, Cajuns shooter Russell is on a tear

Cajuns sign ESPN Top 100 recruit

The Cajuns this week announced the signing of Ty Harper, ranked as the No. 6 recruit in California, the No. 22 shooting guard and No. 100 national recruit overall by ESPN.com.

Marlin said the versatile 6-4 combo guard “can really score the ball.”

A native of Norcross, Georgia, Harper – now at Golden State Prep in California – averaged 15.5 points per game as a senior last season for Santa Clarita (California) Christian School. According to ESPN.com and 247Sports.com, he had offers from Southern Cal and Nevada; 247 also reported offers from defending Sun Belt regular-season champion Little Rock and Detroit Mercy.

“His speed and athleticism allow him to get downhill quickly and put pressure on the defense,” Marlin said in a statement.

Last week, the Cajuns announced the signing of Carencro High senior forward Joe Charles.

Elfrid Payton remains with Knicks

According to multiple reports Saturday, former Cajuns point guard Elfrid Payton will remain with the New York Knicks with a one-year, $5 million deal after earlier this week the Knicks declined to pick up his $8 million option for the 2021-22 season.

Payton, recently inducted into the UL Athletics Hall of Fame, has played for Orlando, Phoenix, New Orleans and the Knicks since being a lottery pick taken 10th overall in the 2014 NBA Draft. The career 11.0 points-per-game scorer spent one season in New York, averaging 10.0 ppg and 7.2 assists per game.

More:UL Cajuns football commit Cejae Ceasar not following dad’s LSU basketball footsteps