SEC transfer Butts, juco transfer Au joining the Cajuns

Tim Buckley
Lafayette Daily Advertiser

Brayan Au did not make a recruiting visit to UL.

He has never stepped foot on campus or inside the Cajundome.

But that did not stop the junior college transfer from deciding to join the Ragin' Cajuns basketball program, something both he and Mississippi State transfer Devin Butts announced over the weekend on Twitter that they have decided to do.

Au could not travel to Louisiana because of the coronavirus pandemic that has had much of the United States on lockdown since mid-March, but the Mexico native now living in Texas said he nevertheless developed a "relationship with the coaching staff" that prompted him to accept the Cajuns' scholarship offer.

More:Coronavirus crisis impacts recruiting for the Cajun

Brayan Au, who has committed to UL out of Ranger College, takes the ball to the basket for Anthony High near El Paso, Texas.

"I was part of the family even before I signed, and they're loyal to me," he said in a telephone interview Monday afternoon with The Daily Advertiser, "so I give them loyalty back."

Butts appeared in six games as a freshman for the SEC's Bulldogs during an injury-hampered 2019-20 season, averaging 1.0 point over 3.5 minutes per game.

Au played the past two years at Ranger (Texas) College, where he was named a second team National Junior College Athletic Association All-American after averaging 15.8 points per game while shooting 51.1 percent from the field for a 28-3 team in the 2019-20 season.

The two plan to join 6-foot-11 Theo Akwuba, a transfer from the University of Portland who signed with coach Bob Marlin's Cajuns when the NCAA's spring signing period opened last week.

Related:UL adds 6-foot-11 Portland transfer Akwuba

Au is the No. 51-ranked junior college prospect in the country, according to JucoRecruiting.com, and will be eligible to play right away.

A native of Nueva Casas Grandes in the Mexican state of Chihuahua, the 6-4 shooting guard also averaged 12.2 points as juco freshman, when Ranger finished as the NJCAA D1 runner-up.

The juco club qualified for this year's NJCAA Tournament as well, but it was canceled to the COVID-19 crisis that also prevented Au from taking his recruiting trip to UL.

"I was really looking forward to taking a visit," he said, "but it was impossible because of all this that is going that is going on."

Au went to Ranger out of Anthony High near El Paso, Texas, where he lived close to the Texas-New Mexico State after moving there from Mexico just before the start of high school.

Au said he was getting phone calls from schools including Michigan State, Kansas State, Ole Miss, Rhode Island and fellow Sun Belt Conference members Texas State and Texas-Arlington, "but I just felt like my heart told me to go with the University of Louisiana."

He committed to the Cajuns after a Zoom meeting with UL coaching staff members including Marlin and assistant coach Brock Morris.

A UL source confirmed the addition of Au, but the Cajuns did not announce plans to add him to the roster.

Related:New Cajuns assistant Morris joins two of his juco players

The 6-6 Butts, meanwhile, tweeted Saturday that he was “110% committed” to the Cajuns.

“I’m real excited about signing and joining the Ragin’ Cajuns,” Butts said in a statement released by the school. “I plan on coming in, competing at a high level and help the team win as many games as possible and get to the NCAA Tournament.”

A two-time All-State selection by the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association and the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the sharpshooting combo guard averaged a school-record 28.0 points per game as a senior at Stratford Academy in Macon, Georgia, and 16.0 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game as a junior.

According to HypeSouth.com, Butts was “courted” by programs including East Tennessee, James Madison, North Carolina A&T, UNC-Greensboro and Tennessee-Martin after entering the NCAA transfer portal.

Coming out of high school, according to his Mississippi State bio, he also was recruited by Ole Miss, Virginia Commonwealth, Xavier and Wichita State.

“Devin is a wing player who can play multiple positions, has a good feel for the game, and can score at all three levels,” Marlin said in a statement.

“His time at Mississippi State was great for his college development. He has competed against some really good players with length and athleticism. ... We look for Devin to space the floor, attack in transition, and defend using his athleticism and length.” 

More:The world changed when season ended for Marlin and UL