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November 9, 2012This is the last of a series previewing each area of the 2012-13 LSU basketball team.
LSU played its exhibition game against Arkansas-Monticello without starting point guard Anthony Hickey.
One could see the effect as the Tigers were guilty of 21 turnovers in their 16-point victory against the Boll Weevils. Three LSU players, including point guard Corban Collins, committed four turnovers. Hickey was guilty of four turnovers just three times in 33 games during his freshman season.
Hickey will be back in uniform when the Tigers open their season Friday night at the PMAC against UC Santa Barbara. Coach Johnny Jones has not definitely said that Hickey will be in the starting lineup, but it would be a surprise if he was not on the floor for the opening tip.
The one-game suspension was the result of Hickey's failure to handle his responsibility off the court. So, Hickey had the opportunity to watch his teammates from the bench Monday night.
"I liked the intensity and the way we came out and played," Hickey said. "I didn't like our defense and how many turnovers we had. I thought Corban had a pretty good game for the first time. He has to watch his turnovers. Corban got a little down at first, but he settled down after halftime."
There is no doubt that the Tigers need Hickey to be a positive force on this year's team if they are going to have any level of success. Starting all but two games as a freshman, Hickey averaged nine points and four assists per game. He had 125 assists as compared to just 63 turnovers.
"Anthony is good in the open floor," coach Johnny Jones said. "He's extremely quick. At times, we still have to tell him to pick (tempo) up. We want to get him pushing it more often than not. Anthony is a solid point guard. He can go."
Hickey displayed great toughness and competitiveness in his first season in the Southeastern Conference. He never backed down from taking a big shot late in the game.
"I have been a SEC point guard for a whole year," Hickey said. "There were some cuts and bruises from last year. I know what I have to do when. I want to have a better assist-to-turnover ratio than I had last year. I want to cut down on my turnovers.
"I want to be more of a point guard and take control of the game. I want to push my team and be the driver to lead the team."
Hickey was named Mr. Basketball in Kentucky following his senior season at Hopkinsville Christian County High School. In the Class 5A playoffs which ended with a state title for his team, Hickey averaged 23 points, seven rebounds and five assists per game.
A former high school quarterback, Hickey enjoys the switch in playing styles for LSU.
"I was frustrated some last year," Hickey said. "I am glad we have changed. We all get to play our ball game. I had always played up at an up-tempo pace. I want to take control of the game."
Collins averaged 25 points and seven assists per game at Massanutten Military Academy last season. Collins, at 6-foot-3, is five inches taller than Hickey. In the exhibition game Monday, Collins was 4-of-9 from the field and handed out five assists. He also grabbed five rebounds.
"Corban brings more energy," Hickey said. "He can control the game like me. He can play fast. I tell him to push me in practice and I'll push him."
1 Anthony Hickey, 5-11, 180, So., Hopkinsville, Ky.
4 Corban Collins, 6-2, 190, Fr., High Point, N.C.
*51 Joshua Badeaux, 6-1, 195, So., Galliano, La.