2012-2013 Overall Rank: #141
Conference Rank: #12 SEC
LSU Team Page
LSU appeared to be heading in the right direction and they were ready to build off of their NIT berth last season. But then Coach Trent Johnson went to TCU and the roster got a little more depleted than expected. The Tigers did make a nice hire in former LSU assistant Johnny Jones. Coach Jones had spent the past decade at North Texas, where he led the Mean Green to a couple of NCAA Tournament appearances. It may not be the big hire fans were hoping for, but it should turn out to be a good hire. Unfortunately, it will take some time for this team to turn things around.
2011-12 Record: 18-15, 7-9
2011-12 Postseason: NIT
Coach: Johnny Jones
Coach Record: first season at LSU, 205-162 overall
Initially LSU was only going to lose part-time starter Storm Warren and role-players Chris Bass and Malcolm White. That would be a hit to the frontcourt as Warren wrapped up his collegiate career averaging 8.2 points and 5.1 rebounds. But then things got worse. The already depleted frontcourt lost Justin Hamilton. The big center led the team with 12.9 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.3 blocks during his junior campaign. He opted to try his luck in the NBA, or at least professionally somewhere. Ralston Turner, the team’s most effective outside shooter transferred, as did fellow guard John Isaac. There is some talent left, but depth and experience are huge problems.
Coach Jones will have to get some production out of his five newcomers. Malik Morgan highlights the freshmen class. The 6-3 shooting guard is a big time scorer and, if he does not find himself in a starting role, will provide a nice offensive spark off of the bench. He can even run the point if needed. But Corban Collins is expected to fill the backup point guard role. He is a true point guard and should eventually turn into a quality point guard. The other freshman is shooting guard Shane Hammink, son of former SEC standout Geert Hammink. But this team is in dire need of help in the frontcourt. Coach Jones hopes junior college transfers Shavon Coleman and Calvin Godfrey can help fill that void. The former teammates at Howard Junior College will be pushed into major roles right away. Coleman is a 6-6 small forward, but with the lack of depth up front, he may find himself at the four spot more than he would like. Godfrey, at 6-8 and 235 pounds, has the big body needed to bang around in the paint in the SEC. He may not score a lot, but LSU will need him to hit the glass and play some defense.
Who to Watch:
The pressure of replacing Hamilton, Warren and the rest of the frontcourt will fall on the shoulders of Johnny O’Bryant, Eddie Ludwig and Jalen Courtney. O’Bryant, a 6-9, 262 pound sophomore is coming off of a superb debut season and could end up being the focal point of the LSU offense. He averaged just 21.4 minute per game as a freshman, but managed to put up 8.5 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. With Hamilton gone, O’Bryant is now the player the offense has to work through in the paint. Ludwig is an experienced senior, but is more of a role player who can come in and eat up about ten minutes per game. Courtney barely saw any playing time as a sophomore and is running out of time to make an impact. With depth needed, he will definitely get his opportunities this year. All three of those players are 6-8 or 6-9, so the Tigers do have some size and potential, but it will most likely come down to how much O’Bryant can improve from his freshman to sophomore season.
Anthony Hickey is another player who will be expected to improve as a sophomore. Hickey had a great freshman season, averaging 8.9 points, 3.8 assists and 2.1 steals per contest. He is a great passer on the break and played very smart with the ball in his hands as a freshman. Hickey’s quickness is a great asset, but what makes him so dangerous is his ability to hit the outside shot. The opposing defense cannot back off of him since they have to respect his outside shot and his speed. Andre Stringer was the point guard two years ago, but he moved off the ball when it became apparent that Hickey was ready for the job. Stringer was second to Hamilton on the team in scoring, averaging 10.1 points per game. He is a decent all-around scorer, but his jump shot was inconsistent last season. However, basically having two point guards on the floor is not a bad thing. With the newcomers who can also handle the ball, the Tigers should be able to keep the turnovers down as long as inexperience or desperation does not get in the way. With Hickey, Stringer and O’Bryant leading the way, this is an LSU team that has potential. But it is also a very young team who will likely have to wait a little while before that potential is realized.
Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI/CIT
Projected Starting Five:
Anthony Hickey, Sophomore, Guard, 8.9 points per game
Andre Stringer, Junior, Guard, 10.1 points per game
Shavon Coleman, Junior, Forward, DNP last season
Calvin Godfrey, Junior, Forward, DNP last season
Johnny O’Bryant, Sophomore, Forward, 8.5 points per game
Madness 2012 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#120 Malik Morgan