Our third installment of Spotlight: LSU Basketball
introduces junior point guard Anthony Hickey. Anthony Hickey was the top high school player out of Kentucky before wearing the purple and gold. The 5'11" guard has been a dynamic force both offensively and defensively. In his first two seasons at LSU, he has tallied 234 assists and only 114 turnovers. He averaged 11.2 points per game last season while also leading the SEC in steals.
Anthony Hickey plays a traditional point guard role for LSU; he's a pass first, score second player. You know LSU is struggling on offense when Hickey's shot totals are high because it means Anthony is having to force up shots. However, he has made some very big shots in his career, and it seems like every time a big three pointer is needed, Anthony Hickey delivers. His ability to create opportunities without forcing turnovers is what has made him so good. Last season alone, he had 17 games (out of 29) with one or less turnovers.
While he has hit many big shots, his shooting does leave something to be desired. Last season he shot under 33% from three point land, 46% from inside the arc, and only 44% from the free throw stripe. His inability to shoot free throws has left LSU in quite a conundrum closing out games. When your best ball handler struggles to hit free throws what do you do? In most situations late in the game Hickey will likely throw the ball inbounds using his passing ability to make sure the ball gets into the hands of a better free throw shooter.
On defense, Hickey takes chances. He darts into passing lanes, and gambles on picking a players pocket as he passes by. Those gambles led to 2.9 steals per game, leading the SEC and third in the NCAA. Those steal numbers landed Anthony Hickey on the All-SEC Defensive team last season. His defense is put on display even better when LSU is in their full-court press. Hickey plays the "center field" position lurking around halfcourt waiting for an opponent to make an errant pass. Like a safety playing football, he reads the eyes of the ball handler and makes him pay for any mistake.
This coming season should be a big one for Anthony Hickey. With more weapons to utilize, Hickey could see a big jump in his assist numbers. With more depth, LSU should be in Johnny Jones' full court press more often giving the ball-hawking junior even more opportunities to steal possessions from opponents. Singlehandedly Increasing the Interest in LSU Basketball