Cajuns junior forward Jalen Johnson is one of four transfers on the roster this season. He spent his first two seasons at Saint Louis University, playing in all 33 games both of those years. After transferring to UL, he had to sit out the entirety of last season due to NCAA rules. Johnson is really looking forward to breaking in that new Cajundome court on Tuesday.
“I think everybody’s excited, including me,” Johnson says. “I’ve been out for a year now, so I’m ready to get on the court. I think to get prepared we’ve just got to keep doing what we’re doing, work hard in practice, trust our coaches, trust everything we’ve been working on and we’ll be ready.”
A Baton Rouge native, Johnson is glad to be closer to home, and closer to his family. His brother is a second-year manager for the Cajuns basketball team.
“Coming home was great,” Johnson says. “I’m close to my parents. My parents love me. I love them. My family is my everything. Being with Coach Marlin, he’s a great guy, a great coach. He believes in me, trusts me. He wants me to be great off the court, on the court. I think everything’s been great so far.”
“Jalen’s proven,” head coach Bob Marlin says. “He had two really good years at Saint Louis, an Atlantic 10, averaging right and 10 and 5 per game and shot 39 percent from 3. He’s a proven player.“
Proven, but still learning. While sitting out last year, Johnson focused on the big picture of the game of basketball to prepare for this season.
“I learned a lot about the game in general, like how it’s supposed to move and movement and how a field can go from one play to another,” Johnson says. “With momentum swings, I really watched that last year a lot, how that can change a game or break a game if you’re on the opposite side of it.”
Johnson and the rest of his teammates will take to the court this Tuesday in their season debut against Loyola of New Orleans at the Cajundome.