Basketball Recruiting Notebook

TSD's Matt McCurdy brings you the latest from the world of LSU basketball recruiting, including a class shift from Mike Thomas, a standout from Pelican and a potential pipeline to Prime Prep for the Tigers.

It's not often that you see a high school guard with his head fully above the rim on a dunk, but Pelican athletic director Cleve Craig saw just that in a recent game. He was in such disbelief that he immediately checked the game tape and saw Pelican senior Zikiteran Woodley dunk on a breakaway where he was looking down at the rim.

I might not believe it myself, had I not seen Woodley play last week, scoring 42 points in a 76-65 win over Loyola College Prep in Shreveport. The game featured many high-flying alley-oops and fast break slams that wowed the crowd and had fans wondering, "who is No. 23?"

Woodley is not a household name around the state, because he plays at tiny Class C Pelican, but he is by no means unknown. The 6-foot-3 guard has been the Class C Player of the Year the past two seasons and will likely win the award again. He is an excellent student, is fully qualified academically for college and has many scholarship offers. What he doesn't have yet is offers from major colleges.

McNeese State, Northwestern State, Grambling and New Orleans have all offered. Oklahoma State has sent assistant coaches to scout Woodley and has been in communication. Oregon State has inquired. LSU was more interested under former coach Trent Johnson.

Craig said that his talks with LSU coach Johnny Jones basically ended when the Tigers signed four prospects in the fall signing period. "Some school is going to miss out on this kid," Craig told TSD. "He's a player."

Woodley is averaging 27.9 points and 11 rebounds per game. He is shooting 50 percent from 3-point range, 72 percent from inside the arc and 68 percent overall. He has also had some of his best games against big schools, such as 3A Loyola and 4A Fair Park, where he scored 50 last season.

So why isn't he getting more big-time offers? He's a bit of a ‘tweener and Craig said college coaches aren't sure of his position at the next level.

"People look at him and say ‘where is he going to play in college," Craig said. "He's a ‘two' no doubt. Ball-handling is a question, but that can improve."

Craig said that Woodley is such a good athlete and competitor that he will be able to improve any short-comings in his game at the college level.

LSU staying involved at Prime Prep

LSU's signing of Jordan Mickey from Prime Prep in Dallas could pay dividends for years to come, as the school is loaded with talented underclassmen.

Center Elijah Thomas, a 6-8, 240-pound 2015 4-star, is especially close to Mickey and the two are often referred to as cousins. Mickey's father, James Wright, said that they are not actually cousins, but are long-time close family friends and basically consider themselves to be cousins.

"Everybody is showing interest in Elijah," said Wright, who added that LSU would likely offer him in the near future.

Wright said he is planning a trip to Baton Rouge this spring to bring the whole Prime Prep team, which also includes 2014 5-star point guard Emmanuel Mudiay.

He also said that Prime Prep has unsuccessfully been trying to schedule a late season game in Baton Rouge against Madison Prep, home of LSU signee Jarell Martin, or another area school.

"Nobody will play us in BR," he said. "We tried to set something up with Jarell's team so LSU fans could see both of their players. We have tried with no luck with them or anybody else."

Ville Platte's Thomas moving to 2013

It has been speculated and considered, but now it is apparently official. Ville Platte center Mike Thomas, a former 2014 prospect, will graduate this spring and become a 2013 recruit.

"He is definitely going to graduate this year," Ville Platte coach Tommy Jones told TSD.

There had been reports that Thomas would get his GED this year and attend junior college next season, but Jones said that is false.

"He's getting his diploma," Jones said. "He's waiting on his ACT score, but he should be eligible."

Thomas took an unofficial visit to Auburn on Saturday for the Kentucky basketball game. He has offers from Mississippi State, Louisiana-Lafayette, Houston, Tulane, Southern, Southeastern Louisiana and New Orleans. He has received interest, but no offers, from LSU, Oklahoma and Auburn.

"LSU saw him over the summer at the Reebok Camp, but I haven't heard from them lately, except letters," Jones said.

Jones said that he thinks Thomas is an SEC player, but needs to add upper-body strength to succeed on the next level.

"He's a 4 or a 5 in college," Jones said. "He can step out and shoot the mid-range jumper. I think he can play either. He has some nice post moves."

Thomas scored 19 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in a loss to Madison Prep and Jarell Martin earlier this season.

Is LSU still looking at Bridgewater?

It has been long thought by most observers that LSU had moved on from Scotlandville forward Brian Bridgewater. According to a recent article in The Advocate, LSU has stayed in touch with him and he took an unofficial visit to LSU for the Florida game.

According to the article, Bridgewater is being recruited by Purdue, Wichita State, LSU, Louisiana Tech and South Alabama.

"I went to the game when they (LSU) played against Florida last Saturday," Bridgewater told The Advocate. "It wasn't a good outcome, but I like what he (LSU coach Johnny Jones) is doing."

He is leading Scotlandville with 14 points and 8.5 rebounds per game.

Quick notes

LSU has shown interest in 6-9 center Skal Labissiere of Cordova, Tennessee. He is 2015 prospect that already has offers from Kentucky and Memphis and interest from Tennessee, Auburn, DePaul, Ole Miss and Georgetown. … LSU assistant coach Robert Kirby was in attendance recently to scout and recruit Moss Point, Miss., shooting guard Devin Booker, a 5-star 2014 prospect. Kirby watched Booker score 32 points in a loss to Gulfport and visited with him afterwards. Michigan State assistant Mike Garland was also in attendance. … LSU has reportedly shown some interest in 2013 6-9 forward Cullen Russo of Southern Tech Prep Academy in Charlotte. Russo is originally from Minnesota and the Golden Gophers are recruiting him as well. He is also receiving interest from Rutgers, Miami, St. Bonaventure and St. Louis.

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