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JOB III to Return to LSU

Johnny O'Bryant III announced that he would remain at LSU for the 2013-2014 LSU basketball season, but what does it mean?


The fluidity of college athletics is never more apparent until the middle of April when the winter sports have concluded and the student-athletes finish their spring semester. Some may fail out, some may pursue overseas contracts, while others will test their chances in the NBA draft. In a year where the draft is considered "historically weak", it's entirely possible that any player in NCAA basketball could declare for the draft. Normally I stray from national opinions to an extent, but this is a point I can agree on. The draft is weak this year, there is not a consensus #1 pick, and the lottery picks available overall are much weaker.

If anything, I think that is the reason LSU fans should be thrilled that Johnny Jones was able to keep Johnny O'Bryant in Baton Rouge. With an incoming class of superstars, at least based on star rankings, it would have been easy for him to conclude that JOB3 could have been replaced in time. I was able to get a look at Jordan Mickey over spring break, and he actually plays quite a bit like JOB3. With similar size and style of play, Mickey would have been in a position to start right away and perhaps produce quite a bit right away.

Now, LSU has tons of options. Johnny O'Bryant clearly became one of the best SEC players by the end of the year. His interior post moves became difficult to defend, and his rebounding steadily improved to the point he was considered perhaps the best SEC rebounder. Johnny was never completely comfortable playing center, and with John Odo, Deng Deng, and Jordan Mickey oncoming, he may not have to play many minutes in that spot.

As for the other forward spot, it's likely going to belong to heralded 5 star recruit Jarell Martin from Baton Rouge. At 6'7", he's bigger than Shavon Coleman and may have the ability to post up much more than Coleman was able to. Part of O'Bryant's game is to drive from the free throw line area, and having another big body available will open up those driving lanes.

The guard spots should remain relatively unchanged. Combinations of Anthony Hickey, Andre Stringer, and Malik Morgan will likely be the starters for the foreseeable future. Highly rated Tim Quarterman from Savannah will give them some height of the bench that could translate well into a full court press situation even when other guards may get into foul trouble.

Overall, the SEC is likely going to be up for grabs again. Pundits like Kentucky's recruiting class, and they would like it more with Andrew Wiggins, while Florida has a solid class of their own with a lot of returning talent from three Elite 8 teams. Tennessee seems poised to break out at some point under Cuonzo Martin, and they certainly have enough talent on the roster to do so when healthy. LSU will be one of the most experienced teams, and that should bode well if they are able to use it to their advantage and win the road games against inferior teams.

The SEC as a whole should be a whole lot better than last year, though a lot of that has to do with hitting rock bottom. Kentucky, Florida, Tennessee, LSU, Ole Miss, Missouri, and Alabama could all legitimately hear their names called on selection Sunday, though I think it's unlikely that the SEC gets to the 50% mark for the conference.