LSU's roller coaster season ended Monday night in Dallas when the Tigers were unable to hold on to a halftime lead against the Mustangs. LSU was able to secure their first 20 win season since 2009 and won their first post-season tournament game since that same year.
Still, this season was like making 10% in the stock market when the index was up 15%. Your overall portfolio is better than the year before, but not as good as you expected. Preseason, LSU was picked to finish between 3rd and 5th in the SEC. They ended up in a 3 way tie for 6th. Last season, LSU ended in a 2 way tie for 8th. There's some improvement, but not as much as expected.
Last year LSU finished the season with a 100 KenPom ranking. This season LSU has finished at 58th. Improvement, but not as much as hoped. The theme is obvious, there's not much you can look at and say "LSU is worse off in this category." Still, there is a disappointment hanging above Tiger fans.
LSU's offense averaged 1.04 points per possession in 2013 and 1.10 PPP in 2014. Their tempo was much more fun to watch. They increased their free throw percentage by over 4%, and their two point percentage by 2.5%. They averaged less turnovers per possession and had a better offensive rebound percentage. On defense, they moved up 120 spots in two point percentage defense. They blocked 14% of opponents two point shots compared to 9.7% last year. They even allowed 3% less offensive rebounds.
And while LSU is losing key players (Shavon Coleman, Andre Stringer, and possibly O'Bryant), the Tigers are bringing in some elite talent to join next season's squad. LSU will be bringing in JUCO transfer Josh Gray who led all JUCO players in scoring this season with 33.8 points per game, as well as UNC-A transfer Keith Hornsby where he was 2nd in the NCAA in free throw percentage hitting 99 of 107 (92.5%) during his sophomore campaign. He averaged 15 points per game and has been practicing with the team all year.
From the high school ranks, LSU adds some much needed depth to the front court when they bring in Aaron Epps and Elbert Robinson. Also making his way to the Tigers program is Jalyn Patterson the extremely successful PG at Montverde Academy in Florida. Projected Roster: PG
Anthony Hickey (SR)
Tim Quarterman (SO)
Jalyn Patterson (FR) SG
Josh Gray (JR)
Keith Hornsby (JR)
Malik Morgan (JR) SF
Jarell Martin (SO)
Shane Hammink (JR)
Brian Bridgewater (FR) PF
Jordan Mickey (SO)
Aaron Epps (FR) C
Elbert Robinson (FR)
Darcy Malone (SO)
John Odo (SR) *NCAA Rules only allow 13 scholarship player's. However, I am not going to project attrition. It's not fair to the athlete's.*
LSU should hear about the intentions of Johnny O'Bryant in the coming week. He told media that he would not wait long to make his decision, and while Jordan Mickey hasn't made his intentions public, most believe he will be back for his sophomore season, including myself.
What better way to end another basketball season than to say it like it is; "There's always next year."