LSU freshmen enter summer school with high expectations

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Expectations are high for LSU and second-year coach Johnny Jones entering this season. The Tigers finished 19-12 last year and return some key veterans while also adding some significant pieces via their highly-touted recruiting class in the hopes of competing for an NCAA Tournament bid.

While incoming freshman wing Jordan Mickey was ruled a non-qualifer this week by the NCAA, LSU still boasts an impressive incoming recruiting class and a few of those pieces are already enrolled and practicing on the Baton Rouge campus.

McDonald’s All-American and 6’10 power forward Jarell Martin headlines the class and 6’6 point guard Tim Quarterman, 7-foot Australia native Darcy Malone and junior college transfer John Odo have also been on campus working with the team, according to The Advertiser.

Martin — who is expected to be paired in the frontcourt with junior Johnny O’Bryant — has already added 15 pounds, which he described to The Advertiser by saying, “it can be fat and lean combined together.”

Quarterman, meanwhile, has focused on point guard duties in drills and open gyms by working on his communication skills.

“At that position, you have to be,” Quarterman said to The Advertiser. “You got to tell people where to be at and what to do. You’ve got to communicate constantly on defense. You can’t be at that position and be quiet.”

Malone and Odo will give LSU additional depth in the frontcourt and Malone is already experiencing how physical major college basketball can be in the summer workouts.

“If there’s an open gym, I’m happy to call up Johnny and say, ‘Come bash me up in the post again,’ “ Malone said of O’Bryant and Odo. “Both those are really quite strong men, and it’s been great to say, ‘This is what I need to play like whenever I hit the floor.’”

Freshman forward Brian Bridgewater will also eventually join the Tigers and coupled with returning players like O’Bryant, junior Anthony Hickey, seniors Andre Stringer and Shavon Coleman and late-emerging sophomore Malik Morgan, LSU could have good depth at multiple positions in their attempt to make the NCAA Tournament.

Former LSU coach Johnny Jones hired by Texas Southern

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Johnny Jones is in charge of a college basketball program once again.

The former North Texas and LSU head coach will be the next head coach at Texas Southern, replacing Mike Davis, who left to take over at Detroit.

“I’m really excited about it,” Jones told Fox 26 in Houston. “This is a terrific opportunity with a great university in a great city.”

Jones went 90-72 in five seasons in Baton Rouge, but finished his final year, the 2016-17 season, with just a 10-21 record. He’s best-known for failing to get to the NCAA tournament with a team that featured Ben Simmons.

Coach K: ‘I have no plans to retire’

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Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski, the greatest college basketball coach this side of John Wooden, said on Monday that he has given on thought to the idea of when he will call it quits.

“I have no plans to retire,” Krzyzewski said on the College Hoops Today Podcast. “I feel better than I have in a long time. I feel healthier than I have in a long time. There’s no end in sight.”

The question of whether or not Coach K will be around all that much longer has been something that has lingered over the sport given the numerous health issues that he has dealt with in recent years. He’s undergone surgery six times in the last two years and, at 71 years old, is at an age where most everyone is hoping to retire while working one of the most strenuous and time-consuming jobs imaginable.

Put another way, no one would blame Krzyzewski if he wanted to hang it up.

But instead, he is arguably at the top of his game. He’s churned out elite recruiting classes in each of the last four seasons, he’s won two National Titles in the last eight seasons and he has three of the nation’s top five prospects enrolling for the 2018-19 season.

He’s not slowing down.

So why would he thinking about leaving the game?

VIDEO: Mixtape for Duke commit R.J. Barrett, potential 2019 No. 1 pick

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Last week, after the NBA draft officially concluded, we posted a mock draft for the lottery in 2019.

At the top of that list was R.J. Barrett, a Duke-commit and Canadian-native that has NBA scouts wowed and intrigued. This mixtape should give you a good feel for why.

Trae Jefferson to transfer out of Texas Southern

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Texas Southern guard and NCAA tournament darling Trae Jefferson announced on Saturday that he’s leaving the school.

The 5-foot-7 Jefferson was sensational at times during his sophomore season with the Tigers as he put up 23.1 points, 4.6 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game, helping lead Texas Southern to a victory in the 2018 NCAA Tournament’s First Four in Dayton over North Carolina Central. One of the most entertaining talents in college basketball, Jefferson is leaving Texas Southern in-part because former head coach Mike Davis took the job at Detroit this offseason.

While Detroit is going to be the favorite to land Jefferson, because of his connection to Davis, it’ll be interesting to see what his transfer market looks like. Jefferson also made it clear on his Twitter page that he would like to be closer to his hometown of Milwaukee so that he can be closer to his ailing grandfather.

Given NCAA transfer rules, Jefferson would likely have to sit out next season before getting two more years of eligibility. But he could be applying for a waiver if he’s trying to be closer to home to deal with his family situation.

Nevada’s Josh Hall transfers to Missouri State

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Nevada lost a talented player from last season’s team as rising junior Josh Hall opted to transfer to Missouri State on Friday night.

The 6-foot-7 Hall is a former top-150 recruit who played a key part in the Wolf Pack’s postseason run as he elevated his play to average 13 points and 4.7 rebounds per game during the 2018 NCAA Tournament. Hall also made the game-winning bucket to lift Nevada past No. 2 seed Cincinnati in the second round.

Although Hall picked up his play late in the year, he was coming off the bench most of his sophomore campaign as he averaged 6.9 points and 3.9 rebounds per game last season.

Since Nevada took in some talented transfers, while players like Jordan Caroline and the Martin twins opted not to turn pro, it left head coach Eric Musselman with too many scholarship players for the 2018-19 season. It looks like some of those issues are now going away as Hall is leaving for Missouri State and graduate transfer guard Ehab Amin opted to decommit from the school.

Nevada is expected to be a preseason top-10 team next season with all of the talent they have returning to the roster, along with the addition of some new pieces like McDonald’s All-American big man Jordan Brown.

Hall will likely have to sit out next season due to NCAA transfer rules as he still has two years of eligibility remaining.