BASKETBALL: Scouting Anthony Randolph

6-10, 190 pounds * Freshman * Dallas LSU has a long history of producing talented big men. Need examples? How about Shaquille O'Neal, Glen Davis, Tyrus Thomas, Brandon Bass and Stromile Swift? It hasn't taken long for Dallas native Anthony Randolph to join the illustrious list.

Randolph is making a case for Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year honors as part of a one-two punch for the Tigers. He is averaging 14.5 points and 8.6 rebounds 2.3 blocks and 1.3 steals, but has turned up his play the past few weeks.

In fact, the 6-foot-10, 190-pound Randolph was named the league's Freshman of the Week for the third time this season after scoring 22 points against Florida and 24 against Kentucky. Randolph's strong all-around game has been an LSU highlight in a tumultuous season.

Strengths

Randolph is a long, athletic big man who has the ability to put the ball on the floor. He can pick up points in the paint, follow missed shots with dunks and even make perimeter jumpers. Randolph scored 14 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the first game against Arkansas.

"He's tough to stop," center Steven Hill said. "He can shoot the ball pretty well, he drives it, when you're as long and athletic as he is you can do a lot of things. He's really a pretty complete offensive player."

Randolph also understands how to succeed in SEC play. He is 15th in scoring (15.4 points) and second in rebounding (9.7) in league games.

Weaknesses If there's one knock against Randolph, it's his rail-thin frame. He may stand 6-10, but Randolph weighs just 190 pounds. It makes it difficult for the freshman to bang away in the post against veteran players that outweigh him by 50 pounds. But there is plenty of room to grow. "His body is just going to get better," Hill said.

Randolph has been loaded with responsibilities because of LSU's depth problems and has shown some struggles in the role. He scored just six points against Tennessee two weeks ago and was 4-of-14 from the floor against Alabama and 5-of-16 against Arkansas.

How to Play Him

LSU doesn't have much depth along its frontline, so Randolph has been asked to log heavy minutes. He has played 38 minutes in both games last week. He played 40 against Arkansas the first meeting.

So the Razorbacks' depth up front could be their best defense against the talented freshman tonight. Arkansas has been using a three-man rotation at power forward with Michael Washington, Vincent Hunter and Charles Thomas. The more Arkansas can throw at Randolph on both ends of the court with the three players, the better its chances are of outlasting him down the stretch.

The Skinny

Randolph probably breathed a sigh of relief when starting center Chris Johnson returned from an extended absence because of a broken hand five games ago. Johnson has helped relieve some of the burden that has been placed on the freshman even though Randolph has left quite an impression on opponents so far this season.

"I wish I could say he's going to be a good player in this league, but he's already a good player in this league," Hill said. "He's already night-in and night-out getting 15, 16 points a game and eight, nine rebounds. The future looks really, really bright for him."

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