With Johnny O’Bryant III making the decision to leave school after his junior season, LSU will need to figure out how they’ll account for the 15.4 points and 7.7 rebounds he provided per game in 2013-14. Of course much of that will be done by returnees Jordan Mickey and Jarell Martin, with the former also blocking 3.1 shots per game and both earning SEC All-Freshman Team honors.
Another player hoping to work his way into the mix in 2014-15 is incoming freshman Elbert Robinson, and the fact of the matter is that head coach Johnny Jones will need the 7-foot-1 center to do just that. And after playing his senior year of high school at 330 pounds, Robinson’s (he arrived on campus at 301) made progress with regards to his weight and conditioning in these months before the start of practice.
“I had to get rid of a lot of that baby fat,” he said last week during a media session to introduce the four new LSU players, along with transfer Keith Hornsby and sophomore Brian Bridgewater, who sat out last season as he waited on the NCAA Clearinghouse.
“I’m down to 288 now and I want to be around 275-80 when the season gets here. I want to be more explosive and be able to get up and down the floor better than I ever have before.”
How much Robinson plays this season remains to be seen, but if in shape he has the tools needed to help LSU in the paint. He was a less productive player as a high school senior than he was as a junior due in large part to those weight issues, and according to the Times-Picayuye Robinson’s been put through the paces by strength and conditioning coach Ricky Lefebvre and nutritionist Jamie Meeks.
The lessons learned from those two can help Robinson not only in the short-term but in the long-term as well.
How to account for the loss of O’Bryant isn’t the only question LSU will be faced with this season. The Tigers also lost three backcourt contributors, with Anthony Hickey moving on to Oklahoma State and Shavon Coleman and Andre Stringer gone as well. Junior college transfer Josh Gray and UNC Asheville transfer Keith Hornsby will be important in that regard, as will sophomore Tim Quarterman and freshman Jalyn Patterson.
LSU finished the season with a 20-14 record, going 9-9 in the SEC and falling to SMU in the second round of the Postseason NIT.