POPLARVILLE, MS (WLOX) - From Baton Rouge to the Coast.
Finding a better opportunity to showcase his talents was the motivation for Gulf Coast quarterback Lowell Narcisse, but he isn’t the only former Tiger that found a new home in South Mississippi.
Brandon Rachal (0:23) - “When I first announced my transfer, (playing at the JUCO level) wasn’t even in my mind at first," PRCC sophomore guard Brandon Rachal said. "The way Coach Oney talked to me and the situation he presented me with and the idea of me being able to play right away, because I don’t think I could have sat out a whole year. I don’t think I’m patient enough.”
Rachal joins Pearl River after just one season in Baton Rouge, where he averaged 4.4 points and 3.3 rebounds in 27 appearances. He pointed to his relationships with Will Wade and the rest of the LSU coaching staff as a big reason for the move.
“When I committed to LSU, Johnny Jones and his staff were the lead coaching staff," Rachal said. "I just don’t think the chemistry ever clicked like that with the new coaching staff. They’ll still do anything for me, it’s no hard feelings there, but I feel like I had too many distractions in Baton Rouge. Moving would have been the best situation for me.”
Rachal isn’t joining just any junior college.
The Pearl River men’s basketball program has a long history of success, as the Wildcats are the reigning MACJC State Champions. With the addition of Rachal, PRCC seems primed for a repeat performance.
“I kind of felt like (Kentucky head coach) John Calipari this year with a one-and-done, with Brandon," PRCC head coach Chris Oney joked. "He’s made it really easy for me. He’s dived on the floor more than any player I’ve had, I’ve ever coached at practice. The other day at practice, he was toting the water bottles to some of the other guys, so he’s humble. He’s a humble kid. That’s because of his dad, his parents, his upbringing.”
An upbringing of humble beginnings.
A native of Natchitoches, Louisiana, Rachal will be the first to admit. He didn’t have the worst childhood, but it wasn’t always the best.
“My dad went in and out of jail a couple times when I was younger," Rachal said. "(My) mom had me when she was 18, so my daddy would be in jail or something like that, it would be harder for us. Getting food, stuff like that, clothes. My dad and my mom, they both bust their butts to make sure me and my sisters and brothers had everything we needed.”
Now the 6-foot-5, 215-pound shooting guard uses his background to fuel his future.
“Always compete, I don’t take nothing for granted," Rachal said. "Any day I know something can end. Every time I’m on the court that if one thing would’ve went different, I might not be here. I take full advantage of my time out there on the court to compete and have fun.”
Rachal and the Wildcats open their regular season Thursday, November 1st against Delgado.