Tigers’ feel good about men’s hoops season, future

Photo by Marcus Plummer

While the Tigers fell one game shy of earning a berth to a NCAA Men’s Basketball Play-In Tournament game, the 2022-23 season was still a historic run for the G-Men of Grambling State University.

Grambling State finished with a modern-day record breaking 24 wins, ending its 2022-23 season at 24-9, their best mark since going 22-8 in 1979-80. That season was the last time the Tigers played in a postseason tournament, falling 76-74 to Mississippi in the first round of the National Invitational Tournament.

This season’s Tigers fell 61-58 to Texas Southern in the Championship Game of the Southwestern Athletic Conference Tournament, but Grambling still dominated the conference’s top individual honors with Deonte Jackson being named Men’s Coach of the Year and Cameron Christon earning the Men’s Player of the Year Award.

Christon led the Tigers with 12.0 points per game and ranked in the top 15 in the SWAC in multiple categories – 11th in points per game, 10th in total rebounds (161) and 12th in 3-pointers made (45).

The GSU graduate student totaled a season-high 25 points twice this season and notched a double-double against Alabama A&M on Feb. 6.

GSU also had senior guard Shawndarius Cowart named second-team All-SWAC.

Cowart averaged 11.9 points and 3.9 rebounds per contest this past season while leading the Tigers with 109 assists and 58 steals per game.

Redshirt freshman William Reynolds, who averaged 2.1 points per game off the bench for GSU this past season, said the close relationships between the players and coaching staff played a big role in the Tigers’ success this past season.

“Coach Jackson is looked at as a great leader and feels like family to everyone,” Reynolds said. “Cam was a great role model I learned from as well as my other teammates. 

“Coach Jackson was a highly motivated, high-energy coach who showed and helped improve me and the rest of the team as players. He’s a tough mentor who drills basketball discipline into you, but that was the key to us staying on the court and being as successful as we were.”