2013-14 College Basketball Season Preview: LSU

Written by Paul Banks of the Washington Times, David Kay and Peter Christian of the The Sports Bank. Send Paul an e-mail here: paulb05 AT hotmail DOT com.
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LSU Tigers (Last Year: 19-12, 9-9 in SEC)

2013-14 Projected Depth Chart:

C: Johnny O’Bryant (Jr)/John Odo (Jr)/Darcy Malone (Fr)

F: Jarrell Martin (Fr)/Jordan Mickey (Fr)/Brian Bridgewater (Fr)

G/F: Shavon Coleman (Sr)/Shane Hammink (Soph)

G: Andre Stringer (Sr)/Malik Morgan (Soph)

PG: Anthony Hickey (Jr)/Tim Quarterman (Fr)

Gone: G-Charles Carmouche, F/C-Eddie Ludwig, PF-Jalen Courtney (transfer-Morehead State), C-Andrew Del Piero, PG-Corban Collins (transfer-Morehead State)

2013-14 Outlook:
There is a clear-cut top three in the SEC this season: Kentucky, Florida, and Tennessee. The fourth-best team is up for grabs, but I think the LSU Tigers are in a good position to claim that spot.

Head coach Johnny Jones returns four starters who all averaged double-digit points per game last year. Former McDonald’s All-American Johnny O’Bryant anchors that group in the middle as he led the team in scoring and rebounding. The physical big man figures to be joined in the starting frontcourt by another McDonald’s All-American, Jarrell Martin. Martin is an athletic forward who should complement O’Bryant and possibly make LSU’s entire starting five surpass 10 points per game.

The Tigers will have improved depth inside with four other newcomers. Jordan Mickey is the best of that group and has plenty of upside as a combo forward. He was initially ruled ineligible by the NCAA but has since been cleared to play. JUCO transfer John Odo and Darcy Malone add size behind O’Bryant, while Brian Bridgewater is an undersized but physical power forward.

LSU has plenty of experience in its backcourt with the undersized duo of Andre Stinger and Anthony Hickey. Combined they have 133 starts between them and use their speed and quickness to be nuisances on the defensive end. Hickey will spend most of the time running the point, though Stringer can play the one as well. The latter is also the team’s top three-point threat as he connected on nearly 41% of his triple tries last season.

After spending a decent chunk of last season playing out of position at power forward, Shavon Coleman slides back to his more natural small forward spot and moves from the team’s sixth man to the starting five. Malik Morgan will once again be a valuable reserve, while Shane Hammink adds more depth on the wing. Tim Quarterman could see spot minutes at the point.

UNC-Asheville transfer Keith Hornsby also joined the Tigers program this summer. He averaged 15 points per game last year as a sophomore, but will have to sit out this season per NCAA transfer rules. (Fun fact, his dad is legendary musician, Bruce Hornsby.)

Heading into this season, there really are a handful of candidates that could be considered the fourth-best team in the SEC. The LSU Tigers will rely heavily on their talented starting five, and if they can get enough production from their bench, should end their 4-year NCAA Tournament drought.

Player to Watch: Jarrell Martin, SF
It was a huge get for Jones to keep the Baton Rouge native in his home state and perhaps the biggest recruit LSU has secured in a decade. Martin is extremely explosive and athletic while also being a terrific rebounder. His length will be problematic on the defensive end, and while he may not be a star right away due to the upperclassmen joining him in the starting five, Martin should be a terrific role player/glue guy in his first year with the Tigers.

Key Non-Conference Games:
  • 11/12 at UMass
  • 11/28 vs. St. Joseph’s (Old Spice Classic)
  • 11/29 vs. Memphis/Siena (Old Spice Classic)
  • 12/1 vs. Oklahoma State/Purdue/Butler/Washington State (Old Spice Classic)
  • 12/18 at Texas Tech
  • 12/21 vs. UAB
  • 1/4 at Rhode Island

  • Predicted SEC Finish: 4th

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