The defense continued to show marked improvement, not allowing the Gators to sniff the end zone. Jeremy Hill ran the ball like the beast he was. And despite probably his weakest game of the year, Zach Mettenberger and LSU came away with a 17-6 victory. Not much of that seems odd right? I mean, even top NFL quarterbacks have off games. The odd part of this weekend? The future for LSU BASKETBALL became even brighter.
Aussie, Aussie, Aussie...Oi, Oi, Oi for Johnny Jones and His Staff
He's compared to Tracy McGrady by NBADraft.net. Any recruiting website you look at lists him as a 5-star, Top-10 prospect in the 2015 class, and having LSU assistant coach David Patrick as his godfather played a solid hand in getting his commitment on Monday. One thing is for sure: the 6'8" 200 lb. Ben Simmons is legit and just another in many indications that head coach Johnny Jones is ensuring that the PMAC can reclaim its nickname as The Deaf Dome.
What LSU gets in Ben Simmons is an athletic forward that can do it all. He can shoot, put it on the floor and take his man to the hole, he can finish around the rim and he is more than willing to get his teammates involved. On the court, he is a cool, calm and collected individual that doesn't let his game get away from him. Watching him play on the Australian team on a couple of occasions, he plays within himself and has a solid awareness of doing what needs to be done from him. On the defensive side, his length and lateral speed can give his opponents headaches in trying to get around him. He could add a little more to his frame to become a more solid player, but outside of that, it is hard to find many flaws from him on the court.
LSU fans will start to get a little more greedy with this Australian connection, but there is a hope and prayer's chance that Australian national team co-star Dante Exum will go the college route. The issue will be that the class of 2014 5-star Exum would be a one-and-done type player and would never get the chance to play college ball together. Again, I guess there is a chance it could happen, but don't get your hopes up.
However, it could play dividends for consensus 2014 4-star Jonah Bolden, another Australian national player. Unlike Exum, Bolden doesn't come off as much as a one-and-done type player, so the potential to play college ball with Simmons is fairly high. As of three weeks ago, LSU was one of Bolden's 10 finalists, so you would have to think that Simmons' commitment should help propel LSU even higher.
Simmons Wasn't The Only Commit for Johnny
Although outshined come Monday, Johnny Jones was more than happy to welcome 2014 3-star point guard and Montverde Academy teammate of Ben Simmons, Jaylyn Patterson to his LSU class. Patterson, who currently joins Elbert Robinson and Aaron Epps, provides a solid point guard to go along with the two big men for 2014. Patterson took a little less time to announce his decision, committing on Sunday, and appears to be a player that coach Jones will like.
Patterson has solid ball-handling skills that allows him to get to the basket fairly easy, where he has the ability to finish or dish it to someone open. He can also play off the ball and his quick, sweet shooting stroke will keep defenders true or they will pay for sagging off of him. On defense, Patterson is an active player and will look for the steal and get out in the open court. Like Simmons, he could afford to bulk up a little bit to take on the rigors of the college game, but he will be a solid multi-year point guard for the staff.
Johnny Hosted One More
While the two basketball commitments took the headlines, Johnny also had another 2015 5-star big man on campus in Elijah Thomas from Lancaster, Texas. To describe Thomas in two words, I would go with: athletic brute. I won't go into full details on everything that he brings, but the ambidextrous 6'9" 230 pound post player was also on campus this weekend to take in the festivities. It should make things more interesting to him to see Simmons commit to LSU and see that the program as a whole is on the upswing. Thomas was Prime Prep teammates with current LSU player Jordan Mickey and is known to be good friends with 2014 commit Elbert Robinson, who I think will be around for more than one year, giving him the chance to play with Thomas.
If Johnny was able to reel in Thomas, you would be looking at a potential 2015-16 front court of Simmons, Thomas and Robinson, assuming guys like Mickey and Jarrell Martin are gone by then. With those three in the front court, LSU could be a dominant force in the SEC and would continue to make the hiring of Johnny Jones way back in 2012 look like the best decision that the University could have made.
Could LSU Lead For Adoree Jackson?
Okay, lets get back to the gridiron, where LSU hosted a slew of top-rated LSU recruits, many of whom were making another of many visits to Baton Rouge, including guys like Malachi Dupre, Gerald Willis III, Speedy Noil and Brandon Harris. One guy who was making his first visit to the school may have been the highest priority (and one of my favorites), in the 5-star, A$AP Rocky stunt double Adoree Jackson. Jackson, who came from California, was joined by his parents coming in from Missouri to take in the weekend. One of many recruits that enjoys taking to Twitter wasted little time in showing his enjoyment and excitement of being on campus. He also quickly found a buddy/tour guide in Malachi Dupre and the two were basically inseparable from that point on.
Many have stated with the dumpster fire that is USC and coach Yaw Yaw leading that team that Florida was his leader, but if he holds true to his recent words in that he doesn't plan on officially visiting the Gators after only being their once back in the early summer, that may speak even more volumes. You won't see me ever use the word lock when it comes to a recruit, but I truly believe that LSU took the lead and has a fairly-sized margin following this weekend. It's still a good bit away from February, but this visit did exactly what LSU hoped it would do with Jackson.
It was a big weekend for LSU as a whole. A victory over a hated SEC foe, two solid commitments to the basketball team, shoring things up with a number of the in-state prospects and making a big impression on the highlight waiting to happen Adoree Jackson. Next weekend is a trip to Ole Miss and an injury-depleted defense that should help this offense get back on the dominant track once again.
Until then, GEAUX TIGERS!!!