With a blue-chip prospect in the fold, St. Joseph is suddenly back in the mix. Arkel Ager-Lamar’s 26 points paced St. Joseph to its second straight win on Friday, 79-66, over Harding.
The transfer from Shaker Heights, Ohio, notched 14 points in his debut on Thursday, a 76-70 overtime win over Danbury, to help the Cadets end a five-game skid.
With only five practices under his belt at St. Joseph, the junior swingman said he’s still trying to find his rhythm.
“I haven’t really played basketball in a while,” Ager-Lamar said. “I’m just trying to get back active, get back with it, just do what I’ve got to do to help my team.”
St. Joseph coach Chris Watts added: “He hadn’t been able to practice with us, so the cardio’s not there. But he’s getting better. In practices he’s getting better. Tonight I think he played a little bit better.
“The good thing is, his ceiling is so high.”
Along with giving the Cadets (4-6) a game-changer on both ends of the floor, Ager-Lamar has allowed them to better balance their lineup.
“That kid puts everybody back in their natural position,” Harding coach Charles Clemons said. “He’s a hell of a player.”
St. Joseph forward Erick Langston said that Ager-Lamar’s given the team an emotional lift as well.
“He gets us going,” he said.
Despite leading 52-51 early in the fourth quarter, the Presidents (7-4) saw the game turn on an 11-0 St. Joseph run. Clemons wasn’t pleased with his team’s intensity.
“You’ve got to find a chip on your shoulder,” he said. “If you don’t have a chip on your shoulder, you’ve got to make a chip. Basketball, you’ve got to take it personal. We didn’t take it personal tonight. Until you take things personal, you’re not going to be where you want to be.”