Oak Ridge High (Florida) senior shooting guard Antonio Blakeney committed to LSU on Friday evening. Blakeney picked the Tigers over Kentucky and Missouri.
The 6-foot-3 Blakeney is listed as the No. 13 overall player in the Class of 2015, according to Rivals. Ben Simmons, the nation’s top recruit and Blakeney’s AAU teammate, had committed to LSU in 2013.
Blakeney is coming off a terrific summer on the grassroots circuit with Each 1 Teach 1, averaging 19.5 points and 3.6 rebounds in 22 games in the Nike EYBL. He initially ended his recruitment in early September, committing to Louisville. He was set to be the highest-rated recruit on arguably the best recruiting class in the nation, alongside guard Donovan Mitchell and forwards Deng Adel and Raymond Spalding, all of whom are top-5o overall recruits.
However, 11 days after he pledged to the Cardinals, he decommitted. The reason for Blakeney reopening his recruitment is believed to be shoe company related. Louisville wears adidas, while the other five finalists for his services — Florida State, Kentucky LSU, Missouri and Oregon — all are Nike schools. Blakeney recently announced he’d decide between Kentucky, LSU and Missouri.
Simmons and Blakeney are the only two commits in LSU’s incoming class. They are both regarded as five-star recruits. Since 2013, LSU head coach Johnny Jones has landed three five-star prospects with sophomore forward Jarell Martin as the other. Martin and fellow sophomore forward Jordan Mickey are the Tigers top two scorers and rebounders. If one, or both, can avoid the NBA Draft for another season, the Tigers will have a talented core to work with in 2015-16.
After leading LSU to consecutive postseason appearances in his first two season as head coach, becoming just the second coach in the history of the program to do so, head coach Johnny Jones’ contract extension and raise were approved by the school’s Board of Supervisors. According to the school release Jones’ deal now runs through 2019, and his total compensation has been raised to $1.5 million per year.
Other than those details, nothing has changed in regards to Jones’ contract with regards to possible bonuses or buyouts.
“Johnny has our men’s basketball program heading in the right direction,” LSU athletic director Joe Alleva said in the release. “On the court, his up-tempo style and the energy in which his teams play is something that is appealing to our fans and is attractive to recruits. Off the floor, Johnny and his staff have done a great job of making academics and community involvement a priority.
“We look forward to having Coach Jones lead our men’s basketball team for many years to come.”
LSU enters the 2014-15 season with expectations of earning a bid to the NCAA tournament, with forwards Jordan Mickey and Jarell Martin leading the way in the front court. Transfers Josh Gray and Keith Hornsby are expected to be key contributors on the perimeter for LSU, which was picked to finish fourth in the SEC preseason coaches’ poll. Add in the fact that the nation’s top recruit, forward Ben Simmons, has committed to join the program next season, and there’s a considerable amount of optimism in Baton Rouge when it comes to direction Jones’ program is headed in.
LSU may have lost on the football field to Mississippi State on Saturday, but the basketball team received some positive news as Johnny Jones and the Tigers picked up a commitment from Class of 2017 guard Cedric Russell, according to Peabody Magnet assistant coach Derrick Kirk.
The 6-foot-2 Russell picked up his first scholarship offer from LSU in late July after playing with Louisiana Elite over the summer. At Peabody Magnet, Russell averaged 14.5 points per game during his freshman season in 2013-14.
Russell committed to LSU during an unofficial visit on Saturday that included an official visit from four-star 2015 guard Brandon Sampson.
LSU doing well in-state in younger classes is a nice perk for their recruiting efforts and they hope to land some in-state talent in the 2015 class to go along with No. 1 overall prospect Ben Simmons.
The Tigers have been linked to in-state products like Sampson, Chad Lott, Melvin Frazier and Jacob Evans.