2007-08 LSU Basketball Preview
Overall Rank: #63
Conference Rank: #9 SEC
2006-07: 17-15, 5-11, 6th West
2006-07 postseason: none
LSU has been the model of inconsistency lately. Highly touted heading into the 2006-2007 season, the Tigers barely finished over .500 and spent March watching tv, reminiscing about one year earlier when they were in the Final Four. Where do they go from here? It is hard to tell, but Coach John Brady has some talent around that can put an end to the rumblings of his ineffective leadership.
However, Coach Brady will have to do it without the services of Glen Davis. ‘Big Baby’ may have had a disappointing year, but he still put up some solid numbers, averaging 17.7 points and 10.4 rebounds. Without Davis, the Tigers will lack a proven interior scorer and that could have major ramifications for LSU. Fellow frontcourt starter Darnell Lazare has run out of eligibility and athletic part-time starter Magnum Rolle has transferred. The departures on the perimeter are less of a concern. During the 2004-2005 season Tack Minor averaged 10.8 points and 4.6 assists, but he only played in 19 games during the last two seasons. Ben Voogd, who is transferring, was not much of an offensive threat, but he did see action in most games off the bench and at least provided some depth.
LSU needs some help up front and they sure found it in Anthony Randolph. The highly regarded 6-10 forward has a ton of potential, but the team will need him to reach at least part of that potential right now. He is long and, at 190 pounds, very skinny. He can handle the ball and create his own shot, but the Tigers need somebody who can get on the glass. His size alone will get Randolph some rebounds and once he gains some strength, he will be a great rebounder. At 6-8 and 225 pounds junior college transfer Quinton Thornton has the strength and experience to make an impact in the rebounding department. Garrett Green is not as highly touted as the other two frontcourt newcomers. Green is perimeter orientated big man and could find some minutes off the bench this season. Bo Spencer, Marcus Thornton and Anshaun Gatson will bolster the perimeter. Spencer is a solid shooter and a smart floor leader, but it is his defense that may keep him coming off the bench for the time being. Thornton has two years of experience at the junior college level and has a terrific long range shot. At 6-4, he can use his size to get to the basket as well and will add another scoring threat to the perimeter.
Who to Watch:
Chris Johnson only averaged 6.8 minutes per game in 18 contests last year. If the 6-11 junior can step up and be a productive center, the Tigers frontcourt will be in good shape. While Johnson has shown flashes of potential and some offensive skills, it will not be easy to expect Johnson to be able to be as productive while seeing 20 more minutes per game. There are fewer questions surrounding Tasmin Mitchell. The 6-7 forward ranked second on the team in points and rebounds and will be the new team leader. Mitchell has the versatility to step outside and hit the long ball and battle in the paint and that versatility will be very important for the Tigers.
The most important player on the team may end up being Garrett Temple. The 6-6 guard will handle a majority of the point guard duties until Spencer is ready to take over. When Spencer is at the point, Temple will likely move to the two guard position. He is by no means a consistent outside shooter, but Temple’s defensive prowess is too valuable to keep on the bench. The long range shooting will be left to Terry Martin. Martin was ineligible during the first semester last year after transferring in from Texas Tech, but the 6-6 Monroe, Louisiana native quickly found his spot on the team. He ended up third on the squad in scoring with 10.6 points per game, but there is room to improve. Martin is almost exclusively a shooter and could get to the basket a little more. The only problem with that is he will get to the line more often, where he shot a dismal 57.7 percent last year. Dameon Mason was not as productive during his first year at LSU as he was at Marquette. Now a senior, the 6-6 wing is expected to provide more leadership to the backcourt. He has the talent and athleticism for some big games, but developing consistency is the key. Consistency is crucial for the entire team this season and for the entire program in general. The Tigers have the players and will continue to get the players, but that does not mean the team will make it to the postseason year in and year out.
Projected Post-season Tournament: NIT
Projected Starting Five:
Garrett Temple, Junior, Guard, 8.6 points per game
Terry Martin, Junior, Guard, 10.5 points per game
Dameon Mason, Senior, Guard, 5.4 points per game
Tasmin Mitchell, Junior, Forward, 14.5 points per game
Anthony Randolph, Freshman, Forward, DNP last season