LSU Preview Capsule

LSU Preview Capsule

By The Associated Press=

LSU

Last season: 22-11, lost in NCAA Tournament first round.

Nickname: Tigers. Coach: Johnny Jones.

Conference: Southeastern.

Key returners: G Tim Quarterman, who averaged 11.5 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.0 assists last season, will start at guard. The junior is coming off a productive summer, averaging 16.4 points during a five-game tour of Australia. He is projected as a possible NBA first-round draft pick. Senior G Keith Hornsby, who averaged 13.4 points and 4.2 rebounds per game last season, will also log a lot of crucial minutes in the back and is views as one of the Tigers’ leaders on the court and in the locker room.

Who left: Front court star and shot-blocking extraordinaire Jordan Mickey, who is now with the Boston Celtic. Last season, blocked 113 shots in 31 games. He also led the Tigers with 9.9 rebounds per game and was second on the team in average scoring at 15.4 points. Sharp-shooting forward Jarell Martin, now with the Memphis Grizzlies, led LSU with 16.9 points per game last season and was second on the team in rebounding with 9.2 per game.

The Skinny: The additions of 6-foot-10 Ben Simmons and 6-foot-5 Antonio Blakeney have infused the LSU basketball program with optimism perhaps not seen since the days of Shaquille O’Neal. Simmons and Blakeney were both Florida high school standouts and a couple of the highest-rated recruits in the nation. Neither is expected to stay in school more than one season before heading to the NBA. Simmons is capable of playing every position on the court, showing a combination or size and versatility that has drawn comparisons to the type of player Earvin ”Magic” Johnson was at Michigan State.