3/26/15 5:55 am CST
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
Well, it’s official: LSU forward Jarrell Martin has announced that he will forego his final two seasons at LSU and enter the NBA Draft. Like most Tiger Fans, I would have loved to have seen Martin come back for his junior season, and I think he could have improved his draft stock by doing so, but I recognize that there are many factors that go into making such a big decision and that the financial lure of playing in the NBA is hard to resist. In his press conference, Martin said that his family’s financial situation played a big part in his decision. When asked if he had spoken to fellow Tiger Jordan Mickey about his decision, Martin said he had not. Mickey was not present at Martin’s press conference.
Losing Martin wasn’t the only blow LSU basketball sustained yesterday. LSU also lost associate head coach Eric Musselman who has taken the head coaching job at the University of Nevada. In Coach Johnny Jones’ season-in-review press conference yesterday, he spoke of what a great job Musselman did in his one season as Jones’ top aide and said that Musselman’s mission from the get-go was to get a head coaching job, and that he’s very happy for him. As of now there’s been no word on who might fill Musselman’s vacated position, but Jones described the job as “championship caliber” and said a lot of interest in it has been expressed.
For a transcript and video yesterday’s basketball press conference, see this article on LSUSports.net. Below are a few key comments I gathered by following the tweets of reporters covering Coach Johnny Jones’ presser.
• Coach Jones said he’s very happy with the track the program is on, and when asked if he thinks he did a good job this year, he answered with a definitive yes.
• When asked whether he thinks Jordan Mickey should return to LSU, Jones said players can always get better and stronger, but that the decision lies with Jordan and his family. He added that Johnny O’Bryant and Jarell Martin benefited by returning to LSU to play another season.
• When asked about next season, Jones quickly pointed out Craig Victor as a potential difference maker. He said he also wants to see improvements from Elbert Robinson and Aaron Epps.
One player who has the potential to make a huge impact on LSU’s basketball program is signee Ben Simmons, and yesterday he was honored as the Gatorade National Player of the Year. Here is the official Ben Simmons Gatorade Player of the Year Video that I encourage you to take a moment to view. And if you want to see more of Simmons, his season highlights video is also in our Media Gallery.
In football news, LSU’s Pro Day takes place tomorrow and several former Tigers will be taking place in an attempt to impress the 100+ NFL coaches, managers and scouts in attendance. The list of former Tigers expected to take part in the event includes projected first round offensive lineman La’el Collins, linebackers Kwon Alexander and D.J. Welter, running backs Terrence Magee and Kenny Hilliard, fullback Connor Neighbors, defensive end Jermauria Rasco and safety Ronald Martin. The SEC Network will be on site to televise the event which begins at noon with the running events (40-yard dash, various shuttle runs). Below is a complete schedule of Pro Day events and times. Fans can also watch LSU’s Pro Day on the WatchESPN app or on SEC Network+.
In baseball news, the No. 1 LSU baseball team (22-3, 4-2) will return to action with a three-game series against Kentucky (16-9, 2-4) starting tomorrow. Coach Mainieri has said that he will go with the same starting pitching rotation of Poché, Lange and Godfrey in this series. Later today I should receive more information on the series and can let you know who Kentucky will counter with. A lot of you have asked me about the status of Kade Scivicque who was hit by a pitch in the forearm during Tuesday’s game against Tulane. The good news is that Scivicque’s X-ray came back negative and he should be good to go tomorrow night. Scivicque, also known as the Maurepas Masher, is LSU’s leading hitter with an incredible .423 average and has been exceptional behind the plate. If I were asked to name LSU’s MVP at this point in the season, I wouldn’t hesitate in naming Scivicque.
A few brief football-related tidbits in closing:
• LSU entertained an out-of-state recruit at a major position of need yesterday - linebacker Jonathan Jones (6-1, 220) of Orlando, Florida. I’m hearing that things are looking good with Jones, as well as with in-state sensations Devin White (RB/LB, 6'3", 224, North Webster) and Michael Divinity (LB, 6'2", 200, John Ehret) who are ranked No. 3 and No. 8, respectively, in our list of Top LA Prospects for 2016.
• A few days ago I named three LSU football players who appear to be making a splash this spring - FB David Ducre, LB Donnie Alexander and WR D.J. Chark. Here’s a great article on the impact Chark is making with video interviews of Chark and QB Anthony Jennings.
• And on a lighter note, you know that Helmet Madness challenge I included a link to yesterday? Well, LSU won! LSU beat Mississippi State, Auburn, Notre Dame and Michigan and Navy en route to being honored by CBSSports as having the top football helmet in all of college football.