Cajun Basketball Visits JC Big to Campus

Despite being a likely spring signee, Western Oklahoma State College power forward Arkim Robertson took an official visit to the Louisiana campus over the final weekend of September.

The 6-foot-9, 240-pound Robertson, a native of Grenada, nearly averaged a double-double last season as a freshman while playing for WOSC coach Rolando De La Barrera. Prior to his stint at WOSC, De La Barrera worked alongside current Ragin’ Cajuns assistant coach Gus Hauser at New Mexico State.

“Arkim said the visit went fine,” De La Barrera said. “All of his comments about his visit were positive. I think Louisiana Lafayette wanted to bring him in for a closer look because they need to replace their really good big guy (Shawn Long). He liked the coaching staff, the city of Lafayette and the school.”

It was the first official visit for Robertson and likely his last until the spring. The Cajuns have yet to officially offer Robertson, but that’s in part because it’s still early in the recruiting process for both sides. He was invited to Jerry Mullen’s JUCO Top 100 Camp in July but was home in Grenada for the summer and unable to attend the event.

Tulsa, Cal State Bakersfield and Youngstown State are among the other schools to reach out so far to De La Barrera about Robertson.

“He is most likely going to be a late signee because he’s got to take some coursework in the summer,” De La Barrera said. “I have not really engaged with many of the schools who have called about him. When a guy needs summer courses it’s better to rev up recruiting in the late signing period. I have a pretty good relationship with Gus Hauser and that probably helped them. I know they knew he was one of the better bigs in our region.”

Last season’s numbers prove that as Robertson averaged eight points, eight rebounds and 2.1 blocked shots in 19.3 minutes per game and shot 59.5 percent from the floor. He ranked second in NJCAA Region II in blocks — current Stephen F. Austin forward JaQuan Smith was first — and fourth in rebounds and field goal percentage.

Robertson finished with five double-doubles, including monster games against Southwestern Christian’s JV team (27 points, 11 rebounds, six blocks) and St. Gregory’s JV squad (22 points, 21 rebounds). He scored in double figures nine times and had eight games with double-digit rebounds.

That production is even more impressive given Robertson played little organized basketball before coming to America.

“Right now Arkim looks the part physically with his broad shoulders and a frame that can put on even more muscle,” De La Barrera said. “He has a pretty good motor to get up and down the floor, runs and jumps well and is hungry to learn. Offensively, his game is probably closer to the basket right now, but his benefit today to anybody would be as a large body on defense, running the floor, blocking shots and being opportunistic on offense.”

De La Barrera expects Robertson to continue to improve this season as he competes in a region that has two Division I-bound bigs in Northern Oklahoma College’s Valentine Sangoyomi (Houston) and Connors State College’s Arlando Cook (Nevada).

“Arkim hasn’t reached his ceiling yet and is like an investment that will give you steady, solid growth,” De La Barrera said. “His stock will rise as this year goes on because 6-9, 230-pound bigs are at a premium. He has a great general makeup, a good work ethic and a willingness to learn and do what he’s asked to do. We’re working with him to continue polishing his skills.”

Available playing time will be a major factor for Robertson when it comes time to decide where he will continue his collegiate career.

“Junior college players have to be careful because they only have two years to play in Division I then they’re done,” De La Barrera said. “My general feeling for junior college guys is to date the girls who like you and go find a place where you’re going to fit into the equation and get a chance to play.”

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