At every step of his career Keith Hornsby embraced a step up in competition.
By choosing to transfer to LSU, Hornsby made certain that will be the case when the former UNC-Asheville shooting guard committed to Tigers basketball coach Johnny Jones on Monday and relishes the opportunity of playing in the Southeastern Conference.
"I feel I've always adjusted well to a step up in competition," Hornsby said. "Now that I'm older and more mentally prepared I can do that as well."
Five days after completing his official visit to LSU, Hornsby, the son of Grammy-winning musician Bruce Hornsby, called Jones to extend his pledge over other finalists North Carolina State and St. Mary's (Calif.).
The 6-foot-4, 190-pound Hornsby said he was uncertain when he'll sign a grant-in-aid and report to Baton Rouge but will have to satisfy NCAA transfer rules and sit out the 2013-14 season and have two years of eligibility remaining.
"It's been a crazy process," said Hornsby, whose twin brother Russell signed with Oregon over LSU to run track. "It was a really tough decision. After talking it over and thinking about it LSU's the place. I took three great visits. It was tough. The LSU visit being so great was the catalyst for that."
Coincidentally, the LSU visit was the last of the three and apparently left a lasting impression on Hornsby after leaving Baton Rouge last Thursday for return trip home to Williamsburg, Va.
Among the constants after the visit was the immediate bond Hornsby said he felt with Jones and his staff, the players along with a picturesque campus and impressive facilities.
"When I called Coach Jones we shared our excitement and it was a beautiful moment," Hornsby said. "That's one of the main reasons why I chose LSU because of Coach Jones and the relationship I feel we already have. He's just a great guy and a great coach and I can't wait to work under him.
"I felt I had a great relationship with all the coaches," Hornsby said. "Coach (David) Patrick reached out to me first and kind of drew me in. I feel I already have a good relationship with the players that are there. I liked the school, the campus was beautiful and the practice facility was amazing."
Although LSU will have to a wait a year to implement his alents into its up-tempo system Hornsby's expected to significantly upgrade the Tigers perimeter shooting where he shot 38 percent from 3-point range this past season.
Hornsby started in 29 of 30 games for Asheville, ranking second on the team with a 15-point scoring average and 4.2 rebounds. He also ranked second nationally in free throw shooting at 92.5 percent (99 of 107).
Hornsby scored in double figures 23 times with a career-high of 27 points against Liberty (83-69 loss). He also poured in 26 in a 90-72 road loss against Ohio State.
Hornsby signed with Asheville after a successful two-year stint at national powerhouse Oak Hill Academy where he scored 1,341 points. He averaged 11.4 points and served as the team's co-captain on the nation's fourth-ranked team that finished 29-4 his senior year.
"Some of my best games were against high-major competition so I'm not a complete stranger to it," Hornsby said. "It will be an adjustment, but the redshirt year will help me even more.
"I felt like the most important thing was the coaches really expect great things from me," Hornsby said. "They expressed that they had a need for me and I feel that's one of the most important things basketball wise."
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