The Ragin' Cajuns are depending on Bryce Washington to step up this season. He's embracing the challenge, and he's already thinking like a leader.

Head Coach Bob Marlin named him a team captain for the 2016 season, and it's clear why he was chosen to fill that role as soon as he opens his mouth.

"I always wanted to be a team captain, as soon as I stepped on campus because I know what I can do leading teams, even as a young player," Washington states with confidence. He added, "That's the one thing I really take pride in. I'm going to lead these guys and show that I can lead."

Last season, Washington led the Sun Belt Conference in field goal percentage. During the offseason, he worked to round out his game and improve his jumper. He tries to shoot at least 500 extra three-pointers every week, and he understands the team is looking to him to fill in for the loss of one of the best players in university history, Shawn Long.

Maturity is one of Washington's strengths, along with his understanding of the game. He knows if the Cajuns want to replace Long's production, he can't do it alone.

"I know I have some shoes to fill, especially with Shawn gone, but Lorenz [Stalkup], Scotty [Plaisance], Jerekius [Davis], those guys are going to show people they can play too. It's not just going to be me," Washington explained. "I always tell those guys, it's called a team sport for a reason, it's never just a one-man show."

Washington isn't afraid to admit that he needs help from his brothers. That's another one of his strengths, an unselfish approach and a knack for sharing the basketball and the spotlight.

Over his career, he's shown glimpses of dominance. He's a skilled rebounder, an excellent passer in the post, and with an improved jump-shot, he could do serious damage to a defense.

As the leader of the team though, he's not allowing himself to be single-minded. It's not all about stats for Washington.

"I really want to be a double-double machine, but my main goal is to win," Washington said. "If I have a 20-20 game and we lose, I won't be satisfied. I'll kick myself."

There's a quiet intensity behind Washington's bright smile. People underestimated him his entire life, but he uses it to fuel his fire.

"I always had a chip on my shoulder," Washington shared. "I know my teammates know that I can play, my coaches know that I can play, it's time to prove people wrong."

The Cajuns have a chance to deal with their doubters too. They were picked in the middle of the pack in the Sun Belt preseason poll, but Washington and his teammates aren't focused on predictions before the season tips off. If anything, they're using it as motivation.

Washington is ready to get the season started. He's been ready to lead this squad since the day he committed to play for the Cajuns, and now he has a chance to grab the reins and take this team to the top.