With only twenty days until tip-off, Spotlight: LSU Basketball
introduces 6'9" 255lb Johnny O'Bryant The Third. The junior really picked up his game in his sophomore season averaging 13.6 points and 8.7 rebounds per game. He had 15 double doubles (10+pts and 10+rebs) last season and was named to the 1st team All-SEC list. After flirting with the NBA Draft, O'Bryant decided to return to LSU for his junior season.
Likely to be his last season playing amateur basketball, JOBIII has come into the season looking stronger and leaner than ever. He has been consistently praised by the coaching staff for his off-season work ethic and looks ready to become LSU's next drafted player.
Offensively, O'Bryant is LSU's biggest threat to take over a game. While he has limited range, he has developed post moves that keep the defense guessing. He likes to use double moves in the post to get opponents in the air and can draw fouls in bunches. He is developing his mid-range jumper and showed signs of success hitting from the baseline last season. If he gets the ball outside, he has a quick first step to drive by most defenders, but he may be most dangerous on the offensive boards where good positioning can lead to easy points in the paint.
His turning point last season was in January where his game went from good to great. Personally, I believe the culprit was his new-found appreciation for passing out of the post. He started finding open teammates after the double teams came and this quality forced opponents to question their defensive gameplan on the Tiger forward. With even more talent around him this season, his ability to pass out of the post will be even more important to his offensive success.
Defensively, JOBIII is still working on becoming an all-around defender. His large frame allows him to wrestle down low, but he has had a tendency to commit silly, unnecessary fouls. However, O'Bryant did an outstanding job boxing out and keeping opponents off the glass. He is quick enough to handle most other post players but he did occasionally struggle to break through screens.
While pressing O'Bryant may have a different role this season. Last year while predominantly playing the center position, JOB was the safety net of the full court press. Playing back, his job was to force opponents to slow the ball down if they broke through the first line of defense. O'Bryant will continue to play this spot, however he may also have to guard the inbounder if Odo or Malone are in the game with him.
O'Bryant has the ability to take over a game, making him one of the most exciting players in the SEC to watch. Last season, in a triple overtime victory over Alabama O'Bryant played 51 minutes, scored 24 points, had 10 rebounds, and 3 assists almost singlehandedly beating the Crimson Tide. He scored a career high 30 points at South Carolina on 13 of 19 shooting, and it's hard to forget his performance at home against Mississippi State where he totaled 10 points, 11 rebounds, and 8 assists in one of the most balanced performances ever by a Tiger.
As a preseason first team All-SEC selection, O'Bryant will always be the focal point of opponent defenses, giving JOB the opportunity to continue to control the pace and style of games.