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Boyd Steps Into Head Coach Role
Bobby Ardoin, Special to the Daily World 5:10 p.m. CDT July 27, 2015

Brad Boyd spent Monday relaxing with his daughter and sleeping a little later than usual.

It was a case, he says, of taking what the moment provides him, since in the life of a coach, leisurely days don’t always come often.

Monday’s type of day will end soon enough, as Boyd begins his first year as the Opelousas High boys’ basketball coach.

In June the schedule was more hectic.

Boyd received a taste of what he will see in a couple months after his team finished a 10-game summer schedule during June.

After spending a year as Jamie Rollins’ assistant, the former UL guard gets his chance to assemble his first program as a head coach.

The Tigers’ summer schedule included games against New Iberia, Breaux Bridge, Acadiana in addition to a showcase weekend at UL when the Tigers played Lafayette Christian Academy, University Lab-Baton Rouge, Acadiana and Vidalia.

For a first year coach, this summer was significant, Boyd said.

He used the summer to implement his system and introduce the large number of the Tigers’ players to aspects of the high school game.

“This summer was real important. We had so many different kids compared to last year and we needed to see how they will compete. It was pretty much an evaluation period for everyone, myself included.

“In the past two years we have lost a good number of tremendous players, some college-type of athletes. This year we may start three sophomores, a freshman and a senior.

“This year we have eight or nine guys coming in from junior high plus a number who played on the junior varsity. It could be an up-and-down year, a rebuilding year,” said Boyd.

June was also an introduction for Terrell “T-Lew” Lewis, who could be the only starting senior, Boyd said.

“Terrell Lewis is a great kid, a great student, a character kid. He’s a shooter and he laughed, but I told him I’m expecting him to take 10 or 12 3-pointers per game,” Boyd said.

The UL games were an added bonus for his team, Boyd said.

Opelousas got to play several games at the Cajundome and on the UL team’s practice facility court.

Boyd said he was pleased with his team’s performance against LCA, a program that he thinks is the best in the Acadiana area.

This month Boyd said most of his players — about 20 — have continued to perform on the basketball court for various AAU teams.

What the Tigers will display this season, said Boyd, is an eclectic array of styles that he accumulated as a high school player at St. Thomas More and a four-year starter for the Cajuns.

“We going old school to begin with. We’ll show a little bit of speed, some flex and motion off what we ran at St. Thomas More, and defensively we’re going to have to press, with some trapping and zone.

“You could say we’ll be up tempo a lot with some pro and college sets that enable us to have some back door cuts,” Boyd said.

Boyd said he’s scheduling a 20-game freshman schedule and as many contests for the junior varsity, something he hopes will help quickly build some experience for such a young team.


BRAD BOYD RETURNS HOME

Last year former Louisiana sharp-shooting guard and graduate assistant coach Brad Boyd accepted an assistant boys basketball coaching job at Opelousas (La.) High School fully prepared to wait for his opportunity to lead the program.

That time arrived earlier than expected as the 33-year-old Boyd was officially promoted Wednesday to replace Jamie Rollins as the new OHS head coach.

“I didn’t even think I was going to get the job,” the Opelousas-born Boyd told the Cajun Redzone on Wednesday morning. “I was so excited when I found out I got it. You should have seen my face. I’ve already received a lot of support and it means a lot to know people in the community are supporting me.”

Before joining the OHS staff last season, Boyd served as the head girls hoops coach for Class 1A Ascension Episcopal School in nearby Youngsville for two years following a five-year stint as an oilfield salesman.

“We won seven games in our first year (at AES) after not winning one the year before and won 13 games the next season,” Boyd said. “Our goal was to make the playoffs that second year and we missed by two spots, but they made the playoffs this year so I’m proud of them for that.”

Boyd, who grew up playing basketball at North City Park in Opelousas and attended Acadiana Prep, developed into a two-time all-state guard for coach Danny Broussard at St. Thomas More before a standout career with the Cajuns from 2000-04. For the past 10 years he’s owned and operated Elite Basketball Training (for more info visit bradboydbasketball.com), held his own summer basketball camps and been involved with the Acadiana Stars, an AAU program he coached starting in 2005 before becoming its director last year. There was also a stint as co-head coach of the American Basketball Association’s Louisiana United in the 2010-11 season.

Now Boyd will coach against Broussard and STM with OHS moving into a new Class 4A district next season. He will continue to teach special ed at the school.

“I played for the best high school basketball coach in Louisiana in Danny Broussard and I learned a lot of things from him,” Boyd said. “We’re definitely going to play at an up-tempo pace and run some five-man motion, but we’re also going to spread the floor and value possessions to finish and win games. A lot of Opelousas kids come from tough situations, but they’re good kids and I expect them to be tough and play hard. They’re going to have to be willing to dive on the floor and play hard because you have to do that to compete in 4A basketball.”

Boyd — who credits his mom, Beth Boyd, and Anne Hollier for teaching him the fundamentals of the game and the importance of competition, hard work and good sportsmanship — sees taking over at OHS as another step in eventually landing his dream job.

“I want to be here as long as I can, but my ultimate goal is to be head coach at UL,” Boyd said. “This job will allow me to prove the type of coach I am and can be and show I can organize a program and do what’s needed to make it to the next level. I’m a firm believer in helping others and this is part of the process to give back and help kids. I know in my heart I will be back at UL one day, and I think this is the next step to help me do that.”

Boyd left his mark as a player for the Cajuns. The three-year starter finished as their all-time leader in 3-pointers made (271) — which is third in Sun Belt Conference history — in addition to scoring 1,130 career points and ranking in the top 20 in assists and steals. His 17 assists against North Texas on Jan. 24, 2002 remain a Cajundome record and are tied for the most in a SBC game.

As a junior Boyd made the All-Louisiana first team and All-Sun Belt second team after averaging 16.8 points per game and leading the Cajuns to a second straight NIT appearance. He made the conference all-tournament team as a senior as the Cajuns won the SBC tournament and advanced to the NCAA tourney. As a sophomore and senior he led the team in assists.

Following his senior season Boyd participated in pre-draft camps with several NBA teams and played for the World Basketball Association’s Rome Gladiators and ABA’s Arkansas RimRockers and Louisiana Pelicans. He turned down offers to play professionally in Jerusalem and Lebanon due to safety concerns and rejoined the Cajuns as a graduate assistant coach in 2005 and left after earning his degree two years later.

For Boyd, a few moments stand out from his time with the Cajuns. In his senior season the Cajuns made the NCAA tourney. That season he had a memorable reverse, between-the-legs pass to a streaking Dwayne Mitchell that resulted in a dunk against North Texas. In a win at No. 12 Mississippi State as a junior, he scored 33 points and made nine 3s, which is still a Humphrey Coliseum record.

“The greatest moment for me was our team winning the conference championship and playing in March Madness,” he said. “Scoring all those points and setting that 3-point record at Mississippi State was great, but I think my hiking the ball to Dwayne Mitchell for the dunk was the most exciting play in school history. I’ve seen some impressive stuff — alley-oops and guys dunking on people — but never seen someone hike a ball like that and the guy get an and-1 dunk. I still have people ask me about that play.”

Boyd also treasures the friendships he cultivated with his teammates.

“One of the things I look back on a lot was every day in the offseason our whole team would go and play pickup ball together,” Boyd said. “Playing those extra pickup games allowed us to develop better chemistry and know more about our teammates when we played real games. I’m still friends with all those guys.”

As for the Cajuns, Boyd is optimistic about their chances next season with the return of all-conference big man Shawn Long and several other key players from a 22-win team that advanced to the CIT quarterfinals.

“Personally, I think they’re going to be the favorite to win the league with Shawn coming back and could even win a game in the NCAA tournament,” Boyd said. “Shawn should be the player of the year in the league. I don’t know of anybody else in the league who is better than him. Bob Marlin is a good coach, a solid X’s and O’s guy and a winner. I think there will be a lot of pressure on them to win, but you live for pressure if you’re a true basketball player. A 20-win season and the NCAA tournament are definitely in reach.”


Q & A With New OHS Head Basketball Coach Brad Boyd

Former Acadiana Prep, St. Thomas More, and Louisiana Ragin’ Cajun basketball player Brad Boyd accepted the Opelousas High boys basketball head coaching position this week.

Here is a closer look at Boyd in this Q & A as he discusses what the job means to him, growing up in Opelousas, coaching against his former coach in Danny Broussard, the future, the impact his Mother had on his career, and of course, hoops.

Q: How did the opportunity to become head basketball coach at OHS come about?
A (Boyd):
A new AD (athletic director) came in and I was told he had offered the head job to someone else, but I was happy to still be on board as an assistant coach next year. I thought I was meeting with the new coach this morning, then the AD sat me down and said, “You’re the guy. We’re going to hire you as the new head coach”. I was shocked and excited at the same time. I guess the potential coach passed on the opportunity. They gave me the opportunity and I took it.

Q: Being that you’re born and raised in Opelousas, how special is this job to you?
A:
It’s more special, without a doubt. The kids that are at the school now, I grew up with their dads, uncles and cousins. I know the kids at the schools now through basketball. Opelousas is a tough city right now going through a lot of change in politics. We have a new mayor, a new chief of police, and now, a new head basketball coach.It’s all a good thing. It’s all about these kids and the youth of Opelousas. I think if we mentor them going forward in a positive way, a lot of change can happen for the better in Opelousas. It’s definitely got a big spot in my heart because I’m from here. I know what it takes to go, get a career, and come back to Opelousas and come back with a job and help out the next guys (generation).

Q: It sounds like this job is about more than just coaching basketball. It’s about coaching young men in life, isn’t it?
A:
Without a doubt. Basketball is a great team sport that builds character, but my main goal is to mentor all the kids, including the ones that don’t play basketball. I mentor them all. I talk to them all….Yes, we want to win in basketball and help kids get better at basketball, but it’s really a life thing. Graduating high school, going to some kind of college or trade school and getting your degree or trade skills is the ultimate goal I’m shooting for.

Q: What can we expect out of the OHS Tigers basketball team next season?
A: We lost some key factors in last year’s team, but we’ve got some hard nosed and young kids coming back. I know that every time we take the floor, we’re going to play extremely hard and compete.I know the kids are really excited about playing against STM, Teurlings and Northside to compete for the district championship. It’s going to be an exciting and crazy atmosphere every home game. Rather than playing a Crowley, Rayne or Eunice at home in front of a gym with 50 fans, now we get to host an STM, Teurlings, Beau Chene, Northside and Carencro, and those games are going to be packed and intense. It’ll bring me back to when I was in high school (at STM) in that same district when every district game was almost like a championship game. It was real intense with a playoff atmosphere. Our kids are really looking forward to it.

Q: When you played for STM at the OHS gym back in the late 90s, the atmosphere was electric. It sounds like that’s something you’re striving to bring back to all the home games at Opelousas High.
A: Oh yeah, without a doubt. We’re going to get back to that great atmosphere. The icing on the cake is I get to coach against my former team and a guy in Danny Broussard who taught me a lot about basketball, fundamentals, and life. To be able to coach against him and be on the same floor is something I’m super excited about.There’s other great coaches in our district in Ross Rix, and coach (Christopher) Kovatch and Coach Williams at Beau Chene, but being able to be coaching on the same floor against Danny, a guy that I look up to is something I’m really excited about.

Q: You referenced your Mother on social media when announcing that you had accepted the job, describing how much she’s means to you. What has she meant to you on this journey of life and basketball.
A: (pauses before emotionally responding) It’s hard to explain Scott. It’s just…I believe, like many people, that they have the greatest Mom in the world, which I believe I do. All the time and effort she put in, bringing me here and bringing me there. It just seems like it’s all worth it, and now coming back to Opelousas and giving back to these kids, just like she gave to me all these years (pauses again) I truly have the best Mom in the world.

Q: Congratulations on the head coaching job and best of luck moving forward.
A: I really appreciate it Scott and look forward to talking again soon.


Brad Boyd radio interview on 103.7 The Game

Brad Boyd discusses his new role as head coach of the Opelousas High School Tigers basketball team on 103.7 The Game.

Click Here To Listen To Radio Interview


Brad Boyd takes over as OHS coach

When former St. Thomas More and UL sharpshooter Brad Boyd came to Opelousas High prior to last season, there were thoughts and plans about perhaps one day becoming the Tigers' head boys basketball coach.

After all, coach Jamie Rollins had been the program's head man for 16 years and wasn't planning on being there for another 16, so he gave Boyd the opportunity to join his staff with upward mobility down the road in the back of their minds.

Things began to change in early April, though, when former Eunice High assistant coach Dwight Collins was hired as the new head football coach and athletic director at OHS.

A month later, Rollins was informed that he wouldn't be returning as the OHS basketball coach. Boyd said at the time, he was informed that he'd be staying on as an assistant, however.

On Wednesday, however, that status was upgraded to head boys basketball coach. As unexpected as the news was to Boyd, it was certainly cause for celebration.

"I'm super excited about this opportunity," said the 33-year-old Boyd, who is from Opelousas and actually began his high school playing career at Acadiana Prep before transferring to St. Thomas More in Lafayette.

"I personally believe that Class 4A basketball is the best league in the state. I realize that not a lot of guys my age get an opportunity like this at this level. I take it as a real blessing, but I also feel like I'm ready for it."

Boyd said he was perfectly content with being an assistant coach for the foreseeable future.

"When he (Collins) informed me that I was going to be kept on as an assistant coach, I was totally on board with that," Boyd said. "I want to help the kids here. This is where I'm from. That's what this is all about."

Prior to being an assistant coach at OHS last year, Boyd served as the head girls coach at Ascension Episcopal in Youngsville for two years and before that was a graduate assistant coach at UL under former OHS boys coach Robert Lee.

As a player, Boyd was a two-time All-State performer at St. Thomas More and then played at UL from 2000-04 and was a two-time All-Sun Belt Conference player.

"I understand that 4A boys basketball is totally different than 1A girls basketball," Boyd said. "But I played 4A ball at St. Thomas More. I know what it's like. It's not going to be a shock to me."

Boyd said he expects a smooth transition. For starters, Rollins allowed Boyd to install some of his offensive sets last season. Boyd said that played a role in the team's 2-9 start, but once the players picked it up, the Tigers finished the season on a 14-4 run.

"We're going to run a five-man motion next year,," Boyd said. "We're going to be up tempo, but we're going to hold the ball when we need to at the end of games. We're going to run a little flex as well. I think that can be very effective."

Also, Boyd said he's already scheduled for next season and the summer season has already been established. The biggest difference, he said, will be a greater emphasis on weightroom training this summer.

"Beau Chene beat us three times this year," Boyd said. "They had some football-type guys out there and they were more physical than us. We've got to get stronger."

The other major priority will be the get all the players academically eligible.

"I think that's the big key," Boyd said. "We never played with our entire starting five last year. I don't want to be held hostage because kids aren't eligible to play. We've got to stress how important academics are to the kids."

Boyd said the Tigers will be young next season with only three of their top eight players returning, but that "the sixth, seventh and eighth graders are loaded with talent, so the future really looks bright."

The Tigers will be moving to a new district next season, playing the likes of Beau Chene, Carencro, Northside, Teurlings Catholic and St. Thomas More, as opposed to Washington-Marion, Crowley, Rayne, Eunice and LaGrange.

"I love the new district," Boyd said. "It gives me the opportunity to coach against the man (STM coach Danny Broussard) who taught me over half of what I know about the game, from teaching me scenarios and what to expect in a game. I think those two games are going to be two of the most fun games for me all season.

"But also, I think it's going to help us at the gate. I think there are going to be more packed houses playing against these schools."


LAFAYETTE - It should have been a night that everyone remembered Brad Boyd's signature shot.

It was a typical high-arching three-pointer, one he launched from the left wing with 16:58 remaining in Thursday's battle with North Texas. When it ripped through, UL Lafayette had its 35th player in the school's storied basketball history with 1,000 career points.

But on this night, none of the 5,116 fans at the Cajundome left talking about Boyd's historic shot.

They all left talking about one of Boyd's passes, one that typified a Cajun 94-81 win that wasn't nearly that close.

"People that don't watch us play much are always talking about me being a good shooter," Boyd said, "but I'd rather be known for good passes. I work hard at being a good passer."

The work paid off in one fleeting, highlight-reel assist that literally had Cajun fans dancing in the Dome aisles.

The home team was already on a 10-0 run nearing the midpoint of the second half when UL senior Laurie Bridges got a hand on a pass on the Cajuns defensive end. He wasn't able to get full control, but he was able to bat the ball toward midcourt and a trio of streaking Cajun teammates.

Orien Greene could have grabbed the loose ball, but at the last second he saw Boyd coming the other direction and the trajectories of Boyd and the ball intersecting. He continued his streak toward the Cajun basket, as did Dwayne Mitchell.

Boyd continued toward the ball, and when he got there fired a perfect reverse, two-hands, between-the-legs, bow-at-the-waist pass to a streaking Mitchell for one of his five second-half thunder dunks.

Lee Venable, Justin Venable, Chris Gannon, T-Boy Hamilton, Bill Delahoussaye and every other former Cajun football deep-snapper would have been proud.

"The guys are always joking in practice that I've got eyes in the back of my head," Boyd said after his 12-point, three-assist, two-steal game. "But I knew it was on a fast break and it was rolling to me. It would have taken an extra second or so to pick it up and turn around."

Mitchell was on the receiving end of the pass, throwing down two of his game-high 24 points. The majority of those came on rim-rattling slams that one by one broke the will of a North Texas squad that was 26 points down in the final six minutes.

The Cajuns shot 62.9 percent in the second half, almost double the first-half performance, while forcing a UNT season-high 23 turnovers and picking off 13 steals, the most the Mean Green had allowed all season.

In fact, UL Lafayette's first three baskets of the second half came off turnovers, effectively turning a three-point 37-34 halftime lead into a runaway.

"Coach (Robert) Lee did the scout report this week," Boyd said, "and he said they were prone to turnovers. If we denied the ball, we'd get them in a lot of one-on-one situations and we'd be able to get some steals."

One shocking number: In the first nine minutes of the second half, North Texas got off a grand total of six shots.

"After Dwayne's third or fourth dunk," Boyd said of those minutes, "maybe they were thinking that we can't compete right now. They pretty much shut it down and started getting ready for their home game later on."

The Cajuns return the visit to Denton on Feb. 23, five games from now. But if Thursday's athletic performance is sustained, the Sun Belt Conference's West Division may already be decided by that point.

"We're kind of like one of those Kentucky teams," Boyd said, "one that's got five or six guys averaging 10 or 12 points and game, all of them able to score and all of them getting three, four, five assists a game."

The Cajuns had 21 assists and 16 turnovers, remaining the only team in the Sun Belt with more assists than turnovers this year.

"This was a big statement for us," Boyd said. "If we're playing at our strongest, I think we're better than anybody in the league. When we "D" up and get steals, we're hard to stop."


Lafayette Advertiser Article - Record Chaser: February 5, 2004

UL Lafayette senior Brad Boyd has 999 career points in his Ragin' Cajun career. His first bucket Thursday night against North Texas will enable the St. Thomas More product to become the 35th player in school history with 1,000 points.

Ragin' Cajun 1,000-Point Club
# Name (Years Played) Career Totals at UL-Lafayette
Total Points G FG-FGA PCT FT-FTA PCT AVG
1.
Dwight "Bo" Lamar (1969-1973)
3,493
112
1445-3208
.450
623-802
.777
31.2
2.
Andrew Toney (1976-1980)
2,526
107
996-1882
.529
534-690
.774
23.6
3.
Kevin Brooks (1987-1991)
441 of Points From 3-Point Range
2,294
116
883-1693
.522
381-492
.774
19.8
4.
Marvin Winkler (1966-1970)
2,128
108
829-1911
.434
470-614
.765
19.7
5.
Jerry Flake (1965-1969)
2,058
107
800-1600
.500
458-536
.854
19.2
6.
Graylin Warner (1980-1984)
1,762
122
759-1416
.536
244-350
.697
14.4
7.
Roy Ebron (1970-1973)
1,683
87
723-1248
.579
237-405
.585
19.3
8.
Michael Allen (1991-1994)
624 of Points From 3-Point Range
1,673
91
554-1335
.415
357-430
.830
18.3
9.
Ed McCauley (1951-1955)
1,596
96
662-xxx
.xxx
272-xxx
.xxx
16.6
10.
Byron Starks (1990-1994)
147 of Points From 3-Point Range
1,592
121
644-1304
.494
255-362
.704
13.1
11.
Tim Thompson (1957-1961)
1,587
102
527-1101
.479
533-722
.738
15.6
12.
Dean Church (1961-1965)
1,546
95
529-965
.548
488-628
.777
16.3
13.
Kevin Figaro (1977-1981)
1,474
108
638-1399
.476
198-294
.673
13.6
14.
George Almones (1982-1985)
1,436
90
511-1126
.454
414-519
.798
16.0
15.
Larry Simon (1958-1962)
1,433
96
532-xxx
.xxx
369-xxx
.xxx
14.9
16.
Dion Rainey (1976-1980)
1,421
111
586-1169
.501
249-328
.759
12.8
17.
Sydney Grider (1988-1990)
759 of Points From 3-Point Range
1,419
58
473-1038
.456
220-275
.800
24.5
18.
Aaron Mitchell (1987-1991)
1,414
117
468-1103
.424
326-414
.787
12.1
19.
Dion Brown (1981-1984)
1,412
118
570-1012
.563
272-415
.655
12.0
20.
Todd Hill (1989-1993)
1,394
122
522-1126
.463
267-382
.696
11.4
21.
Chris Manuel (1994-1998)
1,382
109
469-1129
.415
305-448
.681
12.7
22.
Bob Cutrer (1962-1966)
1,378
103
561-1071
.524
256-356
.719
13.4
23.
Reginald Poole (1995-1997,1999)
1,369
115
512-1056
.485
289-476
.607
11.9
24.
Bill McHorris (1958-1961)
1,366
72
541-1125
.481
273-339
.805
18.8
25.
Randal Smith (1984-1988)
1,300
113
462-955
.484
366-604
.606
11.5
26.
Payton Townsend (1968-1972)
1,240
107
522-874
.597
196-337
.582
11.6
27.
Anthony Johnson (2000-2003)
1,224
82
418-842
.496
309-417
.741
14.9
28.
Alonza Allen (1980-1984)
1,211
118
513-1068
.480
185-323
.573
10.3
29.
Tony Moore (1990-1994)
1,118
119
404-929
.434
181-222
.815
9.4
30.
Cedric Hill (1981-1986)
1,108
92
570-1012
.563
272-415
.655
12.0
31.
Blane Harmon (1998-2001)
636 of Points From 3-Point Range
1,060
92
356-926
.381
136-206
.660
11.5
32.
Marcus Stokes (1988-1992)
1,055
120
420-748
.562
215-326
.660
8.8
33.
Lonnie Thomas (1998-2001)
3 of Points From 3-Point Range
1,043
91
420-748
.562
215-326
.660
11.5
34.
Elvin Ivory (1966-1968)
1,028
55
288-688
.564
252-343
.735
18.7

x - incomplete statistics

Basketball (M): 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004
Coaches: 2005, 2006, 2007


Louisiana 79, #12 Mississippi State 76
November 23, 2002
Humphrey Coliseum, Starkville, MS

This was the Cajuns’ season opener, bringing back memories of when basketball started as football was ending.  The game was played on the same day as the Cajuns’ season finale at Louisiana-Monroe, bringing to an end Rickey Bustle’s first season as UL football coach.

Jessie Evans’ squad was coming off a 20-11 season which saw them win the Sun Belt West and make it to the finals of the Sun Belt Tournament in New Orleans, where they fell to Western Kentucky.  Louisiana earned an NIT bid at the end of the season.  The Cajuns were 12-1 at home, with their only loss to Mississippi State at the Cajundome 79-71, Hopes were high entering the season, as the Cajuns returned four of their top five scorers:   senior Anthony Johnson, sophomore Michael Southall, and juniors Brad Boyd and Laurie Bridges.
Boyd had averaged 7.5 points per game as a sophomore, but shot only 31% beyond the arc after being a prolific shooter and scorer for St. Thomas More High School.  He had made just 72 trifectas in his first two seasons.  During the off-season between his sophomore and junior seasons, however, his mother Beth was looking at old footage and noticed Boyd had adjusted his shot since becoming a collegian, specifically, bringing his hands much higher over his head when shooting.  Boyd worked on the adjustment in the off season.

Neither the Cajuns nor the Bulldogs would be at full strength, however. The Bulldogs star forward Mario Austin was held out of the game while his eligibility questions were addressed.  But the Cajuns had plenty of missing players as well.  Bridges, Southall and Cedric Williams were all academically ineligible until mid-term. Antoine Landry had an ankle sprain and Robert Jupiter missed the game as well. The Cajuns only dressed ten players for the game.

For me, this came B. T. (Before Twins) and my wife and I decided to make a weekend of it.  We headed up to Mississippi and spent the weekend with her dad and his wife on their farm in Sturgis.  My late father-in-law got his PhD from MSU and was retired from the University, where he headed the continuing education department.  There was a lot of maroon at their house.

Saturday afternoon I make the fifteen mile drive to Starkville.  Mississippi State had a football game that day and there was a lot of traffic around the stadium.  I made it to Humphrey Coliseum in plenty of time, though.  The basketball game would draw 6,857, which would be the largest season-opening crowd in five years.

With Southall, Bridges and the others unavailable, the Cajuns started Immanuel Washington, Kenneth (KJ) Lawrence and Boyd at the guards.  Johnson manned one forward spot and, in the middle, a freshman from Australia named Chris Cameron was making his first career appearance.

Boyd and the Cajuns came out on fire, taking an 8-0 lead on a Boyd three pointer, a Boyd putback and another Boyd triple.  But Lawrence went down with a neck injury eight minutes into the game, which necessitated Boyd’s move to the point.  The game was delayed for several minutes while Lawrence was taken to a hospital, where X-Rays proved negative.  The Cajuns stretched the first half lead to as many as 12, 23-11, before Mississippi State went on a 12-1 to take their first lead  at the five minute mark of the first half.  The Bulldogs and Cajuns traded baskets the rest of the way, with MSU taking a one point lead, 34-33 at the break.  At the half, Boyd had hit four three-point baskets.

Although they only trailed by one at the half, the Cajuns had some issues.  They had only dressed ten players and had lost one to injury.  Their only remaining guard was walk-on Scooter Owens.  The only players who had played besides the starting five were center Khadim Kandji, and two forwards who weren’t expected to play much, Chris Williams and former football player Robert Davis.

Mississippi State led for much of the second half, but never led by more than five, as Boyd continued to hit shots and Johnson seemed to score at will.  The two would combine for 59 points.  The Bulldogs got their biggest lead with 6:29 left, on a Derek Zimmerman dunk, but a Johnson triple, his fourth of the game, got the lead down to two a minute later.  After a Zimmerman bucket, Boyd hit his seventh three pointer to bring the Cajuns within one.  Another Boyd triple, this time with 3:25 to go, gave the Cajuns a 71-69 lead and the Cajuns would never trail again.  Mississippi State tied the game on two Zimmerman free throws, but Boyd’s final trifecta of the night, this one from the deep left corner with 1:14 to go turned out to be the dagger.  Johnson hit four free throws in the final minute to seal the upset victory.

Boyd wound up with 33 points on 12-14 shooting.  He was 9-18 from three point range.  Johnson added 26 points including 10-12 from the charity stripe.  And, Cameron, in his first game, was superb.  The Aussie played 34 minutes and had a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds.  Boyd played all 40 minutes, Johnson played 39, Washington 35 and Cameron 34.

It was a pretty quick drive back to Sturgis after the game and I tried, very unsuccessfully, to stifle the big grin on my face that I had since the final buzzer had sounded.  My father in law asked if “that kid” had ever shot the ball like that in a game.  “No,” I said, “but we’ve been waiting for it.”

Boyd’s nine three pointers set a Humphrey Coliseum record and the most triples ever recorded against a Mississippi State team.  It was the first time the Cajuns opened with a road win since 1989.  Both teams would wind up winning 20 games, with Mississippi State earning an NCAA bid and the Cajuns, their second straight trip to the NIT.