Latest Team Rankings
Free Text Alerts
|ShopMobileRadio RSSRivals.com Yahoo! Sports|
|College Teams||High Schools|
September 30, 2013Coach Johnny Jones wants his basketball teams to play at an up-tempo pace.
He was unable to utilize that style with his first LSU squad since there was a definite lack of depth. With one of the top recruiting classes in the country signed, the Tigers will be more suited for a faster pace this season.
"The guys that are returning have a great deal of experience," said Jones at a press conference Monday morning on the eve of the start of basketball practice. "We are excited about the freshmen we have coming in along with John Odo who sat last season.
"With the combination of the guys coming in and our guys returning, there are some great things in store for this basketball team. We are really excited to start practice."
New NCAA rules permit teams to begin practice 42 games before their season-opener. LSU's first game at Massachusetts will be played on Nov. 12 - six weeks from Tuesday. A team has 30 practice opportunities in those 42 days. Jones plans to practice Monday through Friday during most weeks.
"It will be very different than last year because of the time between practice starting and game time," Jones said. "We want to make sure that we are conditioned right, but don't put ourselves in a position that we are in tip-top shape at the wrong time."
The Tigers return five players who logged considerable minutes last year. Three full-time starters are back - junior point guard Anthony Hickey, senior wing Andre Stringer and junior post player Johnny O'Bryant. Senior Shavon Coleman and sophomore Malik Morgan are the other rotation returnees.
But what has Jones and LSU fans excited is the presence of five newcomers - junior college transfer Odo and freshmen Darcy Malone, Jarell Martin, Jordan Mickey and Tim Quarterman. All four freshmen have made a good impression on Jones during individual workouts.
"We have guys that have a great deal of length," Jones said. "Jordan Mickey has a 7-foot-3 wingspan. He is an incredible athlete and he has done a tremendous job in the offseason working out.
"Jarell Martin and Tim Quarterman have grown and have a great range in terms of length. Darcy Malone is going to be another delight to watch this year. We will be a lot more around the rim this year. It will be fun to watch."
These four freshmen can play a variety of positions. Quarterman can play the point or a wing position. The 7-foot Malone's best position may be a wing. Martin can play a wing or a post position. Due to Mickey's length, he will probably spend most of his time in the post.
"Quarterman is very lengthy and has a real presence about him on the court," Jones said. "Jarell can play inside or out and can put the ball on the floor. He has a great basketball IQ. Mickey is a great defender who can block some shots.
"I'm really impressed by Darcy. He runs the floor extremely well and is a really good outside shooter. It would be tough to redshirt Malone because he is a little more advanced that guys you would normally redshirt. I can see him getting a lot of minutes."
Of the returning players, Coleman will have a different role. Forced to play in the post last season because of the Tigers' lack of height, Coleman will now see action as a wing.
O'Bryant considered leaving for professional basketball after his sophomore season. He surprised a lot of observers by returning to school.
"Johnny is going to require a lot of attention from the opposing team after the offseason he has had," Jones said. "His weight and conditioning is probably the best it has been in his career.
"Other teams are going to be required to put a lot of attention on Johnny which will benefit the other guys on our team. At the same time, the other guys on our team will allow Johnny a little more freedom than last year to execute, pass and shoot the ball."
LSU has 13 players on scholarship, but only 11 are eligible. Wing Keith Hornsby must sit out the season after transferring from North Carolina-Asheville. Post player Brian Bridgewater cannot practice with the team due to academic issues from high school. He is still attempting to gain full eligibility.
LSU will play an exhibition game this season. The Tigers will play host to Xavier of New Orleans, a NAIA team, on Nov. 6.
Here is LSU's roster.
5 Shavon Coleman, wing, 6-5, 195
10 Andre Stringer, wing, 5-10, 190
1 Anthony Hickey, point guard, 5-11, 180
2 Johnny O'Bryant, post, 6-9, 255,
*4 Keith Hornsby, wing, 6-4, 190
31 John Odo, post, 6-9, 235
11 Shane Hammink, wing, 6-7, 215
24 Malik Morgan, wing, 6-4, 200
**3 Henry Shortess, point guard, 5-9, 160
12 Jarell Martin, post, 6-9, 240
*20 Brian Bridgewater, post, 6-6, 230
22 Darcy Malone, wing, 7-0, 230
25 Jordan Mickey, post, 6-8, 220
**45 Brandon Eddlestone, post, 6-8, 245
55 Tim Quarterman, wing, 6-6, 175