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November 8, 2013
LSU preview: wings
This is the second of a series previewing each of the position areas on the 2013-14 LSU basketball team.
No one yet knows how LSU coach Johnny Jones will use his two wing positions this season.
The Tigers could go small with Andre Stringer and Malik Morgan. Then, LSU could go with a larger pair in Shavon Coleman and Jarell Martin. There is about one foot difference in the height of Stringer and Martin.
Regardless of how Jones settles on the shooting guard and small forward positions, Stringer will play an important role. The only player who has been in the program for four years, Stringer is the Tigers' lone outside scoring threat.
Last season, Stringer made 41 percent of his 3-point attempts (67-of-164). That shooting was a huge improvement over his two previous seasons when he made about 30 percent of his 3-point attempts.
"My field goal percentage was better last year because I had better preparation," Stringer said. "I was trying to get better. I took film home. I am trying to get better shots. This past summer, I continued to work on my jump shot as well as other aspects of my game. I need to shoot better than I did last year."
It will be interesting to see how Jones uses his perimeter personnel this season. Point guard Anthony Hickey can always slide over to a shooting guard position. Morgan, who averaged 18 minutes per game as a freshman last season, can play either wing spot.
The two wild cards are Coleman and Martin. In his first season after transferring from junior college, Coleman had to play out of position as a power forward. Coleman averaged 11 points and six rebounds per game. He will be far more comfortable playing at small forward this season.
Martin was a McDonald's All-American as he completed his high school career at Madison Prep in Baton Rouge. Martin averaged 26 points, 15 rebounds, five assists and four blocked shots per game. He has played both in the post and on the wing in high school and AAU competition.
Most people projected Martin to be an inside starter with Johnny O'Bryant. However, Jones is seriously considering using Martin on the perimeter where he would cause matchup headaches. Obviously, Martin has some work to do on his perimeter defense. He will probably also play in the post.
"With his size, Jarell can shoot the ball on the perimeter," Stringer said. "He looks good. Jarell is adjusting to the speed and physicality of the game. It comes down to that for all freshmen. I wouldn't be surprised if we played a bigger team.
"I am not sure what coach (Jones) plans to do. There will be different looking lineups at times. It all depends who will play. We are just leaving that up to coach. That's what a team that thrives is going to do. There are no selfish players on this team."
There are two other wings on the roster - Shane Hammink and Keith Hornsby. Hammink, who played sparingly as a freshman, will have trouble getting minutes this year. Hornsby, a transfer from North Carolina-Asheville, must sit out one year. LSU could use his outside shooting touch this season.
Stringer is one of five returnees who averaged at least 18 minutes a game last season. All of those older players are hoping the Tigers can reach the NCAA tournament this year.
"There is more determination, especially from the guys coming back," Stringer said. "Everybody on the team is hungry. There is a sense of urgency. We want to win and create a hostile environment for our opponents. Obviously, our ultimate goal is to get to the NCAA tournament."
Here are the wings on the roster.
No. Name Hgt. Wgt. Class Hometown
#4 Keith Hornsby 6-4 190 Jr. Williamsburg, Va.
5 Shavon Coleman 6-5 195 Sr. Thibodaux
10 Andre Stringer 5-10 190 Sr. Jackson, Miss.
11 Shane Hammink 6-7 215 So. Millingen aan de Rijn, Netherlands
12 Jarell Martin 6-9 240 Fr. Baton Rouge
24 Malik Morgan 6-4 200 So. River Ridge
Here are the career statistics for the wings.
Shavon Coleman: 31 games, 8 starts, 28 minutes; 10.5 points, 5.9 rebounds, 0.9 blocks, 1.4 steals
Andre Stringer: 91 games, 79 starts, 31 minutes; 10.6 points, 2.1 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.1 steals
Shane Hammink: 26 games, 2 starts, 11 minutes; 2.1 points, 1.7 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 0.8 steals
Malik Morgan: 31 games, 14 starts, 18 minutes; 5.3 points, 2.9 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.2 steals
Next: Post players