#OTRHoopsReport – Bayou Boom – January 11, 2015
LSU has brought in one of the top recruiting classes in the nation with Blakeney (left) and Simmons (center). The addition of transfer Craig Victor potentially catapults the Tigers near the top of the SEC.
Coach Johnny Jones knows how good basketball can be at Louisiana State University. He played on the Tigers Final Four team in 1981 and stayed on staff with coach Dale Brown to help guide the program to another Final Four in 1986. Tiger fans have rooted for legendary players such as ‘Pistol’ Pete Maravich and Shaquille O’Neal in years past. Not to mention Chris Jackson who set the college world on fire in 1989 and 1990. Although the aforementioned players are not walking through door into the Pete Maravich Assembly Center next year, Tiger fans seem to have much more to root for with Jones at the helm.
Basketball is Back in Baton Rouge
LSU has been most known for its’ football team in the past decade as Les Miles and Nick Saban has brought prestige to Death Valley. Two National Championships and four SEC championships since 2001, you can understand why Tiger fans have been focused upon their football team more than basketball. Coach Johnny Jones is trying to restore the legacy of the Tigers since taking over last season. He and his staff have the Tigers off to a 12-3 start this season. Although it is still early in conference play, it appears that the Tigers are trending upwards. But what is even bigger news in the Bayou is what Jones and his staff has done just in recent weeks on the recruiting trail.
Simmons is the Centerpiece
The biggest part of the 2015 recruiting class starts with Ben Simmons of Montverde Academy. The No. 1 player in the nation per BrandonClayScouting.com, gives the Tigers a near guarantee name brand pro to boast about for years to come. The 6-foot-8 Australian native was known in previous years for skilled versatility as a high post power forward. However, in recent evaluations it has become apparent that Simmons will easily transition to the perimeter as a truly versatile inside-out threat. As we saw at the City of Palms Classic in December, he has the ability to take over games in the clutch and will his team to win. Simmons is projected to be a top 5 lottery pick in the 2016 NBA draft. There will be a lot of hope that he will be the next great player to come out of Baton Rouge.
Blakeney brings Guard Scoring
Just after the 2015 New Year Jones landed another important commitment from Antonio Blakeney of Orlando, Fla. The 6-4 combo guard committed to Louisville after the July viewing period before quickly de-committing. The Tigers will get an exciting guard who can put big numbers on the board on a nightly basis. He is a high flyer in transition and can put exclamation marks at the end of the plays. In addition he can hit the long range jumper at a high rate. He is currently ranked No. 19 in the BrandonClayScouting.com ELITE 100 in the class of 2015.
Victor the Enforcer
Although Craig Victor II is technically not a part of the class of 2015 recruiting class, he will join Tigers next season. The 6-8 power forward signed with Arizona out of high school, however decided to transfer to LSU after the new year. Ranked No. 48 in the BrandonClayScouting.com ELITE 60 in the class of 2014, The Louisiana native will bring an interior presence that should impact right away in SEC conference play. His willingness to rebound and score on the interior provide perfect complement alongside of Simmons and Blakeney.
Exposure & Showcase Opportunities
Coverage – OTR Spring Showcase March 21, 2015
Jonathan Hemingway is a National Evaluator for the OTRHoopsReport. He is also on the Board of Selectors for the Naismith Trophy. He is the publisher of CoachHemi.com. He has been involved in the community since 1996 as a coach, camp director and evaluator. You can reach him via email at JonathanHemingway@PeachStateBasketball.com and follow him on twitter @JLHemingwayPSB
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