THE FAMILY: LOUISIANA BASKETBALL RISES WITH A UNIQUE, BUT EFFECTIVE TEAM CHEMISTRY IN PLAY
Tristan Castiglia: "We are not looking at each other like a team. We are more looking at each other like a family. And that is something we've been missing in Louisiana for a long time."
Derrick Branstetter: "For the most part, they really like playing together. They just like playing basketball. I kind of have to step out of the way a little bit. Just give them some freedom and let them play. And they make mistakes and then they turn around and make big plays on top of that."
Daylon Greene: "We worked our butts off all year just to try to prove that we were going to be the best team in our Conference. And we did that."
The strength of that chemistry is clearly evidenced by the first outright conference title in program history. But that is not to suggest Louisiana is a "conventional" basketball team any more than...to extend their own analogy...there is any such thing these days as a "conventional" family. It's the quirks here that actually add to the quality of the product. That...and the Bulldogs willingness to cater to each other.
Daylon Greene: "We're a very good team. Anybody can score the ball. Whoever is open will knock it down. We are a good scoring team."
Tristan Castiglia: "It is pretty beneficial. It's a good thing to have all those sources, resources....Having Daylon Greene, he's an animal when it comes to driving to the lane. We have Zach Martin coming back. He's an animal at three point shooting. Marshall Corbin is stepping it up crazy. Like absolutely phenomenal this year. Kendon Chatman...an assist master, by the way."
And the players have accepted their specific roles in the greater cause of success. Despite winning the Clarence Cannon, Louisiana did not get a single First Team All Conference pick; largely because there is so much balance in play. And because your best players, guys like Tristan Castiglia, have sacrificed willingly.
Derrick Branstetter: "He does a great job for us. And actually his shots are way down this year, mainly because we have guards that like to shoot it themselves and they only let us play with one ball. But he does a great job for us, especially on the defensive end of the floor. Blocking shots. He averages four blocks a game. Ten rebounds a game. Gives us eleven or twelve points. So what he does defensively is even more important than offensively. "
Daylon Greene : "We are all just talented. We worked hard in the gym every day. And we are all just trying to make history."