In a move that is sure to have HBCU basketball circles buzzing, junior guard Joe French formerly of Bethune Cookman University (BCU) has decided to stay in the SWAC as he announced that he will suit up for the Arkansas Pine-Bluff (UAPB) Golden Lions for the 2023-23024 season. French is coming off an impressive season with the Wildcats where he proved he can be a top player in HBCU basketball having made his mark in both the MEAC and SWAC over his collegiate career.
Joe French opened his college basketball campaign with Bethune Cookman in 2019. French played a pivotal role appearing in 30 games and starting 14. Averaging 8.5 points per game, French quickly established himself as one of the team’s go-to scorers. The guard’s performances were hot earning him the title of MEAC Rookie of the Week not once but three times during the season. He averaged 19.1 minutes per game tallying a total of 255 points. From the field, French was good, as he shot at an impressive 46.6% overall.
Tthe Florida native connected on 57 three-pointers out of 131 attempts, for a percentage of 43.5%. This outstanding performance led the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) in three-point shooting percentage and placed him fifth in three-pointers made.
French’s sophomore season saw him make great progress and emerge as a key contributor for the Wildcats. He played in 28 games, starting in all of them. French increased his playing time significantly to an average of 33 minutes per game; tallying 443 points throughout the season, averaging 15.8 points per game. The guard continued to be a boss at the line making 75 three-pointers and connecting on 91.2% of his free-throw attempts. French wrapped up the season as the fourth-leading scorer in the SWAC and was ranked sixth-best in the conference with a 45.3 field goal percentage. With a field goal percentage of 44.1, French held the highest percentage in the entire SWAC.
Bouncing into his junior season French was named the 2022-2023 SWAC Offensive Player of the Year. In the season he maintained his strong performance starting in 23 games and averaging 26.9 minutes per game. French continued to be a reliable scorer, contributing 244 points for an average of 10.6 points per game. There’s no doubt that this player was an undeniable threat on offense. On the other side of the ball, defensively French made an impact contributing 1.7 rebounds, 0.5 steals, and 0.5 blocks per game.
As Joe French transfers to Arkansas Pine-Bluff, he brings with him an impressive HBCU basketball rap sheet and a reputation as a lethal shooter. His ability to make an instant impact on the court is undeniable, and he is expected to be a significant asset for the Golden Lions in the upcoming seasons.