Cajuns’ Xavian Rimmer embraces 3-pointers

LAFAYETTE — There’s no better feeling, Xavian Rimmer said, than to be alone in the deep corner with the basketball, staring at the net and rim.

For Rimmer, long distance shooting is as much an art as it has been a passion, something that he’s embraced since he was 13.

Now that long range accuracy is paying off for the 6-foot-2 junior guard, whose 3-point shooting and occasional inside presence has helped No 14 seed Louisiana-Lafayette to a berth in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament Friday against third-seeded Crieghton.

Rimmer, who started the season coming off the bench, was instrumental in two of the Cajuns’ Sun Belt Conference Tournament wins last weekend against Texas-Arliington and Georgia State.

Against UTA, Rimmer scored a then-career-high 24 points. Two days later in the final against Georgia State, Rimmer scored 27 and earned a spot on the all-tournament team.

This season, Rimmer is averaging 8.9 and has started for most of the final third of the season.

Rimmer has taken 130 shots from beyond the arc and is the Cajuns’ leader in 3-point accuracy (43.8 percent).

Although Rimmer can be moved down low along the blocks, he said there’s nothing like squaring up to the basket for a 3-point attempt.

“I really love it, especially when a team plays a zone. That really gets me going,” Rimmer said Tuesday after practice.

Rimmer said his affinity for 3-pointers came initially during junior high.

“Shot development evolved as he enhanced a skill that also seemed natural, he said.

“My whole life, it seems like I’ve been shooting 3s. I worked a lot of my form when I was young, around 12 or 13.

“It was somewhat natural and something I worked on,” Rimmer said.

Acquiring Rimmer, who played previously at Alcorn State, and last year at Pearl River Community College, is a detailed chronicle, UL-Lafayette coach Bob Marlin said.

“It’s a long story. We recruited him in high school (Piney Woods, Miss.), and at the time, we really didn’t need a guard. (Rimmer) committed to Chattanooga and signed there. He qualified late and was later released, and he then went to (Alcorn),” Marlin said.

“(Rimmer’s ) high school coach called us before (the Alcorn signing) and asked if we wanted to bring him in. We still didn’t have room for a guard, but we liked the way he played and could shoot the 3,” Marlin said.

After Alcorn, Rimmer transferred to Pearl River. While he was there, the Cajuns sustained their recruiting effort and eventually signed him.

“He’s a combo guard, a guy who can shoot, a good defensive player and a competitor. (Riimmer) is a good combination of the type of guard we didn’t have and a shooter,” Marlin said.

While Rimmer has had his success on the outside, he’s still not timid about using his 225 pounds and mixing it up with the forwards and centers.

“Perimeter or inside, I’ve played it all. I played the one through the four (guard and forward) when I was at Alcorn,” said Rimmer.

“(Rimmer) can drive the lane with strength, and he’s real good at using his body to get to the net,” Marlin said.

Rimmer though, said he understands why he attracted the Cajuns’ attention.

“I’m a shooter. It took me awhile (this season) to get involved with the offense. I had to get my confidence and the groove of the (Cajuns’) system. I thought my breakout was at Coastal Carolina (21 points in 31 minutes played),” Rimmer said.

Marlin said Rimmer was one of the keys to the Cajuns’ tournament success.

“He was in attack mode on Friday (against UT-Arlington) and Sunday (against Georgia State), and that’s what we’ve been waiting for,” Marlin said.