I just realized that I haven't heard a single word on this blog about the upcoming basketball season that's starting in just three days.
LSU is perhaps the most underhyped returning SEC champion ever, and frankly, there is very little buzz or hope this season. Why is that?
Worries about this season (in order):
DEPTH DEPTH DEPTH DEPTH DEPTH
We have only ten scholarship players this season. One of them is Malcolm White, a transfer player from Ole Miss. Due to transfer rules, he has to sit out this season. That leaves us with just nine scholarship players eligible to play this year. Two of them, SG Aaron Dotson and PF Eddie Ludwig, are true freshmen. Another two, C Garrett Green and C Dennis Harris, did not play at all last season due to injury and redshirting respectively. That leaves us with just five scholarship players that got ANY playing time last year.
And then we got this news. SG Alex Farrer will miss at least six weeks with a kneecap injury. He was supposed to be a starter. That means that we'll we playing the first six weeks of the season with just 8 scholarship players, only 4 of whom received any playing time last year.
Trent Johnson has padded his roster with walk-ons. Last year, we only had one, SG Zach Kinsley. This year, we have four: Kinsley, SG Chris Beattie, PG Daron Populist and F Taylor Jacobsen. Believe it or not, these guys will be asked upon to play REAL minutes. Get used to seeing Zack Kinsley and Chris Beattie, because with just one SG, the freshman Dotson, they could be seeing five to ten minutes per game.
So, with four walk-ons, which one will be the fan favorite? My vote goes to 5-10 Daron Populist, but that's up to the fans. The walk-ons will be counted on to produce more than garbage-time minutes and a restaurant.
Depth Chart vs. La. Monroe PLZ
PG: Bo Spencer/ Chris Bass/ Daron Populist
SG: Aaron Dotson/ Zach Kinsley/ Chris Beattie (Farrer injured)
SF: Tasmin Mitchell/ Taylor Jacobsen
PF: Storm Warren/ Eddie Ludwig
C: Garrett Green -or- Dennis Harris/ Eddie Ludwig
Of the twelve players left, only two of them are proven. One, of course, is Tasmin Mitchell. Mitchell will probably move to his more natural position, Small Forward. The other is Bo Spencer, who takes over as the main perimeter threat for LSU with the departure of Marcus Thornton.
The rest of our players are unknowns. Chris Bass will continue to get minutes as Bo's backup, and with the lack of SGs, his role will increase. Storm Warren is a magnificent athlete with wild potential, but his rawness was painfully obvious last year. He could be very dangerous if he's matured as a player, and we'll find out if he has quickly, because he's our starting Power Forward.
Garrett Green got some playing time as a reserve in 07-08. Back injuries knocked him out of last year. Unfortunately, we really don't know if he's fully recovered yet. Even if he's 100%, we really don't know how good he is either. The good news is that he's tall (6' 11") and big (230 lbs, which isn't huge but 40 lbs better than his backup, Dennis Harris.)
Dennis Harris is an unknown as well. Trent Johnson decided to redshirt him last year, which tells me he just wasn't ready to play last year. Hopefully he is ready this year, and so is Garrett Green. Regardless of who starts, both will receive big minutes (15-25 per game each).
Neither of the two freshman, Dotson and PF Eddie Ludwig, were big-time pickups a la Kentucky's John Wall, but we'll be counting on both of them to produce.
Expectations couldn't be lower right now. The question is: does Trent Johnson get a pass this year? Right now, Tiger fans seem to be understanding of the situation, but knowing LSU fans, that will change if the losses start coming.
I'll say this: It might not be a fun season, but the experience our young Tigers will gain from it will benefit the team for years to come.
Of course, we could wind up having a great season anyways. Who knows?