Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
When LSU takes the floor on Friday, November 13th against the McNeese St Cowboys, Coach Jones will have something he has yet to truly have in his tenure; depth. Even with LSU senior leader Keith Hornsby out with injury and Arizona transfer, Craig Victor, out till mid-December per NCAA transfer rule, LSU fields a team with a lot of versatility. What makes this pre-season so exciting is trying to figure out the best ways to use the Tigers newfound depth.

While exhibition basketball can only answer so many questions, LSU's 98-72 victory over Southwest Baptist did give us some information to process. LSU's starting lineup consisted of Tim Quarterman (6'6" Jr), Jayln Patterson (6'1" So), Antonio Blakeney (6'4" Fr), Ben Simmons (6'10" Fr) and Elbert Robinson (7'1" So).

The two big question marks coming into this season

With Keith Hornsby's injured for the first 4-6 weeks of the season, who will take his place at shooting guard? While the answer may look simple with Jayln Patterson getting the start, we also saw the versatility that the smooth stroked freshman, Brandon Sampson, possesses. More impressive than Sampson's team leading 19 points on only 10 shots, was Sampson's extremely advanced defensive ability. While Sampson was only credited with 2 steals on the game, he was a force both in halfcourt and press defense. Jayln Patterson Was no slouch either. He hit a team high 4 three pointers and had a 3:0 assist to turnover ratio. He was efficient. That efficiency will likely win him the starting job to begin this season.

The second question that needs answering is who will play the center spot, and what kind of production can we expect from the 5. Elbert Robinson looked like a different player than he did in the past, physically and mechanically. He had 6 point and 5 rebounds in 12 minutes of action, and four of his five rebounds were offensive boards. The two other's vying for that spot shined defensively. Aaron Epps, the 6'10" stretch forward, had 4 blocks and a steal in 15 minutes. He also had 5 rebounds and hit a three point shot. Darcy Malone also had 4 blocks in only 7 minutes of action.

How will Coach Jones use his Rotation

Even missing Keith Hornsby, this is a guard heavy team. Blakeney, Patterson, Quarterman, Sampson, and Gray each had over 20 minutes in the exhibition game, and Ben Simmons was used as a point forward often during the first half. That means, LSU could really have 3-4 point guard type players on the floor at any given time.

This allows LSU to push the tempo with so many players having the green light to take the ball down the court.

When Aaron Epps was in the game at forward/center, LSU used the same three quarters court press we grew accustomed to seeing last season, and it was successful. Aaron Epps brings versatility with his length to go along with his athleticism. LSU will use their press to try and speed up opponents. It worked to the tune of 24 turnovers forced in the exhibition proving LSU's length will be a problem for many opponents.

While we don't have all the answers to how Coach Jones will use his talented and deep roster, Tiger fans can expect some exciting basketball in the PMAC this year.

Filed Under: LSU Basketball


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I think ultimately the 5 spot will get the job done by committee. Robinson looked like he was developing exceptionally well but I'm still worried about his conditioning.
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