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Basketball Adds Three New Players

Tigers welcome an in-conference transfer and a pair of elite prospects

NCAA BASKETBALL: MAR 19 Div I Men’s Championship - Second Round - Murray State v Saint Peter’s Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

LSU men’s basketball team might be a lot better than anyone expected this season.

Now that the roster purge stopped and Matt McMahon and his staff can get to work adding players, the coaches have added some pretty intriguing pieces.

First LSU dipped into the transfer portal and added former Mississippi State forward Derek Fountain. Fountain will be a junior this year and in two seasons in Starkville he’s appeared in 44 games with 13 starts. Standing at 6’9”, Fountain gives LSU some size it desperately needs now that Tari Eason and Darius Days are off to the NBA. Fountain averaged 5 points and 4 rebounds last season while shooting a respectable 38.5 percent from three (15-39).

The Tigers have also signed a pair of highly touted recruits in the 2022 class. First, LSU landed a commitment from Jalen Reed out of Jackson, Miss. Reed’s a four-star prospect, No. 45 nationally. Reed’s the son of Justin Reed who was an All-American at Ole Miss and the SEC’s Freshman of the Year in 2001.

LSU then added another top tier prospect in the form of Tyrell Ward. Ward’s a high four-star/low five-star prospect depending on which recruiting service you subscribe to. Rivals has him as the No. 23 prospect, while ESPN and 247 has him 34th. Hailing from DeMatha Catholic in Maryland, Ward averaged 19.1 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.0 blocks last season.

So how is this all happening? How is LSU, a program that’s supposed to facing something akin to the dEaTh PeNaLtY, still pulling in top-50 prospects? I think it’s one of three reasons.

  1. Matt McMahon is a really good coach (likely!)
  2. Mark Emmert struck a sweetheart deal with Scott Woodward on his way out as head of the NCAA (maybe! If you love conspiracy theories run with this one) OR

No matter which reason ends up being correct (3, obviously) LSU’s 2022-2023 team is shaping up to be much better than it has any right being.