Welcome to The Sports Bank’s third annual college basketball season preview series. Two years we looked at 99 teams in 99 days. Last year, we were slightly more aggressive and expanded to 111 teams in 111 days and will do so again as we look ahead to the 2012-2013 season.
We will rank the 75 power conference teams and top 36 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order. We’ll break down rosters, transfers, incoming freshmen, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.
Trent Johnson’s brief tenure as LSU Tigers head coach came to an end this off-season as he left for TCU. LSU replaced Johnson with North Texas head coach and former Tiger Johnny Jones who takes over a roster with plenty of turnover.
Last season: 12th, 7-9, 18-15 overall
Projected SEC Finish: 8th
Projected Depth Chart
C: Johnny O’Bryant (So)
PF: Eddie Ludwig (Sr)/Jalen Courtney (Jr)
G/F: Shavon Coleman (Jr)/Shane Hammink (Fr)
G: Andre Stringer (Jr)/Malik Morgan (Fr)
PG: Anthony Hickey (So)/Corban Collins (Fr)
Gone: C-Justin Hamilton, PF-Malcolm White, PF-Storm Warren, PG-Chris Bass, SG-Ralston Turner (transfer-N.C. State), SG-John Isaac (transfer-Baton Rouge CC)
On top of losing three players to graduation, the Tigers will also be without Justin Hamilton who chose to leave for the NBA despite having a year of eligibility remaining as well as transfers Ralston Turner and John Isaac. That leaves LSU with just nine scholarship players; half of which are newcomers.
As a result, the Tigers will rely heavily on their under-six foot backcourt of Anthony Hickey and Andre Stringer. Hickey is more of a distributor while Stringer is the better scorer of the two. Neither play shoots the ball really well from deep though and the three-point line will be an Achilles’ heel for LSU this season.
JUCO transfer Shavon Coleman figures to start at small forward. He is athletic, long, and a solid defender but again, not somebody who can really light it up from deep. Jones will count on three freshmen guards off the bench including Shane Hammink who is probably the team’s best threat from distance. His dad played at LSU in the early 1990’s.
With the Tigers losing Hamilton and seniors Malcolm White and Storm Warren, former McDonald’s All-American Johnny O’Bryant becomes the man inside. Offensively, he is still certainly a work in progress but can really use his combination of strength and athleticism to clean up the glass.
Role players a year ago, Eddie Ludwig and Jalen Courtney will battle for the other starting forward with the loser of that battle being the lone reseve post player. JUCO transfer Calvin Godfrey was supposed to provided added depth but didn’t qualify academically which adds to his troubles since he was dismissed from the Iowa State team after being arrested for possession of marijuana. Ludwig and Courtney do bring versatility on the offensive end since they can step out and knock down jump shots but don’t possess a ton of talent.
Jones has some major work to do at his alma mater. There is a lot of youth and not a ton of depth on the roster so an injury or off-the-court issue could set the team back even further.
Player to Watch: Johnny O’Bryant
Anytime you are a McDonald’s All-American and choose a non-basketball power like LSU, expectations are high. O’Bryant has show more assertiveness and touch inside while improving his shot selection if he is really going to tap into his potential. His energy and effort on the glass is great but he needs to become more reliable on offense and provide LSU with a true post player since they are not a good three-point shooting team.
Key Non-Conference Games:
11/29 vs. Seton Hall (Big East/SEC Challenge)
12/22 at Marquette
OTHER 111 IN 111’S:
#97 South Carolina Gamecocks
#98 Seton Hall Pirates
#99 Georgia Bulldogs
#100 DePaul Blue Demons
#101 Boston College Eagles
#102 Penn State Nittany Lions
#103 Arizona State Sun Devils
#104 Virginia Tech Hokies
#105 Texas Tech Red Raiders
#106 Auburn Tigers
#107 Wake Forest Demon Deacons
#108 TCU Horned Frogs
#109 Mississippi State Bulldogs
#110 Utah Utes
#111 Nebraska Cornhuskers
David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank. He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities. David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu. He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet (Yup, repeat champ… #humblebrag.)
You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.