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Women’s Basketball:UL point guard Thomas takes high school coaching job

Tim Buckley, The Advertiser, Aug. 19, 2020

Point guard Jasmine Thomas – who started 14 of her 17 games for the UL women’s basketball team last season – has decided to jump at a job opportunity rather than return for a fifth year in 2020-21.

Thomas is taking a coaching position at a small high school close to her northwest Louisiana hometown of Vivian, Ragin’ Cajuns coach Garry Brodhead said.

That school: North Webster High in Springhill, where according to the Cajuns she will be the girls varsity team head coach.

The former first team All-State pick from North Caddo High sat out in 2018-19 with a medical redshirt.

Honored last May with UL’s female Student-Athlete Comeback of the Year Award for the 2019-20 school year, Thomas – who graduated in the spring – returned to average 4.2 points and 2.5 rebounds per game as a redshirt junior.

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UL's Jasmine Thomas directs her teammates during the play as the Ragin' Cajuns beat the Little Rock Trojans 49-46 at the Cajundome on Wednesday, March 11, 2020.

But she missed the first 13 games of Sun Belt Conference play in the middle of last season due to an injury.

“With the some of the injuries she had, and the opportunity too, I think she was scared that the opportunity wouldn’t be there to be able to coach (if she had returned to play another season),” Brodhead said. “So I’m excited for her.”

Thomas averaged 8.9 points as a full-time freshman starter in 2016-17 and 7.3 points while opening 12 of her 23 games as a sophomore. 

“As a coach,” Brodhead said, “you always get excited when your players become coaches.

“We preach it here, you know: always strive for your opportunities. … She’s worked hard. She’s gonna be a really, really good coach. I could see her coaching at the college level someday.”

With Thomas gone, Brodhead said the Cajuns have moved some of their players around position-wise and have been running a point guard group in the offseason that includes Skyler Goodwin, Alex Goodly and Makayia Hallmon.

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“It’s just gonna be getting them to be comfortable at the position, I think,” Brodhead said of the key to making it all work.

“You know, Jasmine was just so comfortable at it. But they bring something a little different than Jasmine does, so we’re excited about those three.”

Goodwin averaged 8.7 points per game last season, while in limited minutes Hallmon averaged 3.1 points and Goodly 2.2.

“I’ve always been a type of coach that I want my point guard to score,” Brodhead added, “and, oh man, all three of them can score, so that’s gonna be a good thing.

“It might take them a little while to feel comfortable in the full court and all that. But I think all three of them can do it, and they’re all three different. (Hallmon) can score in bunches, and I feel Skyler (Goodwin) can too.”

Goodwin, a senior-to-be who led her team to a state championship in 2017 while playing for Parkview Baptist High in Baton Rouge, had some experience playing at the point earlier in her Cajun career.

Brodhead said she knows how to manage a team.

“If (Hallmon and Goodly) can do the same,” the Cajuns coach, “I think it can really help us.”

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UL men’s coach Bob Marlin said last week that backup point guard Trajan Wesley has been practicing without any contact “and has had minimal pain” with the injured foot that cost him multiple games last season, but also that he recently saw a specialist.

Forward Kobe Julien, who much of last season following knee surgery, also had been workout out without any contact, according to Marlin.

“Kobe Julien is progressing nicely. He’s really pushed it,” the Cajuns coach said. “He’s had super workouts. So he is on schedule to return.”

But guard Durey Cadwell, who missed all of last season due to a knee injury, had a setback, according to Marlin.

“Durey Cadwell started practice, had a little bit of tendinitis in his knee again where he had the patella (injury),” Marlin said when he last spoke with media members. “So he went back and saw the orthopedic specialist.”

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Marlin said the Cajun men recently had eligibility waivers approved that will allow two big men, 6-foot-11 former University of Portland center Theo Akwuba and 6-10 prep transfer Isaiah Richards, to play right away in 2020-21.

But UL still has not received a waiver ruling on another of its transfer, ex-Cal guard Jacobi Gordon, Marlin said.

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