Last one out turn out the lights.
That seems to be the vibe surrounding the LSU men’s basketball program nowadays. On Friday I wrote that Brandon Murray and Xavier Pinson were the first two players from the 2021-2022 squad to put their names in the transfer portal, and since then the floodgates opened up.
Five more players have entered their names into the transfer portal: freshman guard Justice Williams, freshman centers Jerrell Colbert and Bradley Ezewiro, junior forward Shareef O’Neal, and sophomore guard Adam Miller.
If all that wasn’t enough, senior forward Darius Days entered his name into the NBA Draft (for real this time, he signed an agent and everything) as did sophomore forward and SEC Sixth Man of the Year Tari Eason. So if you’re keeping track that’s nine players from the team who won’t be on LSU’s roster come November.
None of these departures are all that surprising but it’s definitely a sinking “oh shit this is really happening” feeling. Williams and Murray could have been pieces future LSU teams built themselves around; Colbert and O’Neal could have been quality depth up front in the ‘22-’23 season; Miller might be one of the biggest what ifs in recent LSU basketball history—how much different is this season if he doesn’t tear his ACL three weeks before the season start? All that’s done and now Matt McMahon needs to do everything he can to try and hold onto Eric Gaines, MWani Wilkinson, and Alex Fudge just to be able to field a team if nothing else.
But while the portal takes (a lot!) it also gives back (slowly but surely haha...unless???)
LSU has added two players: Kendal Coleman, a center from Northwestern State, and Justice “Juice” Hill who was McMahon’s point guard at Murray State this past season.
Coleman was certainly productive for the Demons as he averaged 15 and 10 in 30 games this season for Northwestern. He even played against LSU in December and 16 points and 13 rebounds. He had 17 double-doubles this season and was one of 15 players who averaged a double-double across all of Division I.
Hill’s familiarity with McMahon alone is a massive get for LSU, never mind the fact that he’s quite a good player. Hill was all across the Ohio Valley Conference leaderboards, ranking eighth in points (13.4), seventh in made threes per game (1.9), and third in assists (5.1). The 5.1 assists per game was good for 34th nationally and he was 13th in the country in his assist-to-turnover ratio (2.7 to 1).
I’d recommend getting yourselves familiar with Murray State’s roster because that program has also seen nine players put their names into the transfer portal and it’s not crazy to think more may follow Hill to Baton Rouge. Be on the lookout specifically for KJ Williams, the OVC Player of the Year, DJ Burns, a New Orleans native, Trae Hannibal, who played at South Carolina before transferring to Murray State, and Will Richard who played against McMahon at Belmont.
Murray State went 31-3 last year, maybe bringing McMahon’s core to Baton Rouge wouldn’t be a bad idea.