Marlain Veal should be easy to spot once he arrives on the campus of Southeastern Louisiana.
He’ll be the high flying 5-foot-9 guy in the green and gold Lions jersey; the one playing with a chip on his shoulder.
“Absolutely,” said Veal when asked if he still feels he has something to prove. “I’m going to work hard like I usually do, and you’ll see the results.”
The Helen Cox point guard signed with Southeastern Louisiana on Thursday at a ceremony in his school’s library.
“I liked the passion that the coaches and the faculty had for me,” Veal said. “A lot of colleges didn’t show me the love and attention that Southeastern did. … My dad told me this moment is a grown-man decision to make, and since I am going for four years, I wanted to make the right decision and I feel I made the right decision.”
Veal also had scholarship offers from Xavier, UNO and Texas Pan Am and was close to receiving another one from Robert Morris.
But the list of offers wasn’t as long as many expected for Veal following a stellar senior season that put him in the conversation of being one of the top players in the state.
“A lot of people may think Marlain is too small,” Southeastern Louisiana coach Jay Ladner said. “He is small in stature, but big in the way that he plays basketball.”
Veal averaged 15.3 points, four assists, four rebounds and two steals per game and helped Cox reach the quarterfinals of the playoffs for the first time since 2008 when Greg Monroe suited up for the Cougars.
Veal finished the season winning several honors, including District 8-5A MVP and Player of the Year on the Louisiana Sports Writers Association Class 5A All-State Team. He was also Most Valuable Player in the Louisiana High School Coaches Association All-Star Game.
“He ended up being one of my better players that I have had here,” Cox coach Tyron Mouzon said. “He has always been passionate, plays with heart and plays 100 percent all of the time. And he showed so much leadership this year. He has grown a lot, and I think he still has a lot of growth and has a chance to be very special. Southeastern is getting an outstanding man and an outstanding basketball player.”
But Mouton knew he was getting something special when Veal first transferred to Cox from McDonogh 35 heading into his sophomore season.
Veal didn’t have a ride at the time and would walk about a mile to where Mouzon would pick him up.
“Some mornings it would be cold and some morning it would be raining and he’d running down the street for me to get him,” Mouton said. “When I saw that, I knew this kid was really passionate and really dedicated about what he wanted to do.”
Ladner is thrilled to get a chance to be Veal’s next coach.
“That’s an understatement,” Ladner said. “We are trying to build a program, and we think there are so many good players in New Orleans and Baton Rouge. We want to recruit those guys and keep these Louisiana guys in the state. I can’t be any more excited. I think it’s a great day for us.”