Marlin Sees McGuire As More Than Just Lagniappe
Elijah McGuire playing for Ragin' Cajun Basketball is an interesting story line, but it is far from a novelty act for everybody involved.
Athletes like Eli don't often walk into coaches' offices and ask to play on their team. The process is typically the other way around. For Head Coach Bob Marlin, adding McGuire to the roster was a signing day gift way after the fact. Mark Hudspeth got him on campus to play football, but Marlin said he would have pulled the trigger if Hud didn't.
One way or another, McGuire was determined to play basketball for the Cajuns. Marlin, who would have offered him a basketball scholarship out of high school, gets "The Prophet" without even having to use that scholarship.
"We're getting a free one now, thanks to him," Marlin said.
At practice, he is adding energy trying to impress his new teammates. He already touched the floor in real game time against Troy. Remember, he's knocking a lot of rust off too. Be patient.
His coach says the rust is almost all gone. Basketball shape took a few days to find for McGuire, but his body adjusted quickly and can now keep up with the different game flow and pace. He might not be able to play long minutes yet, but he can play explosive minutes when his coach needs him.
You might even see some of his moves translate from the football field into the paint.
"He's going to be able to score the basketball and drive on people," Marlin said. He even joked about calling on him in a very chippy game against South Alabama, "I was about to send the managers over to the APC to get his shoulder pads."
I'm pretty sure there would be a few charging fouls called if you let Eli put the pads on, coach. You can't blame him for thinking of it though.
McGuire isn't here for a few games of pickup with the boys and a new pair of sweatpants. This experience is real for him, and he wants to help the team.
His handle of the basketball and ability to finish at the rim could make a massive difference off the bench if he can polish off his game. His energy and agility could provide a burst on both sides of the floor, especially if any of the guards get into foul trouble or need a breather.
It's a long season, and extra legs always help down the final leg of the race. It can only help to add a sprinter.