Whoever steps in as LSU’s new basketball coach has a tough row to hoe on the recruiting trail, with as many as five more scholarships to fill this season to fill out a 13-man roster.
But the more pressing and important task may be to re-recruit the player who was arguably the Tigers’ MVP in 2011-12.
Point guard Anthony Hickey is back home in Hopkinsville, Ky., for spring break and is contemplating whether he will return to LSU after a freshman season after making a huge splash this winter.
His father, Anthony Hickey Sr., said his son was stunned by the sudden departure of Trent Johnson, who was introduced as TCU’s coach on Monday.
“We hate that things have ended like they did,” said Anthony Hickey Sr. “(Johnson) leaving didn’t make much sense, because we felt like things were going in the right. We had a lot of aspirations of what was possible next year.
With the 5-foot-11 point guard home for spring break, the Hickey family will discuss the situation in the next few days, but will reserve a final decision until the search for Johnson’s replacement has run its course.
“Right now we’re weighing our options,” Anthony Hickey Sr. said. “We want to see who they bring in. The biggest part of his decision is who’s coming in. If it’s a name that we know and stand a better chance of knowing about him, then we’ll have a lot to think about. It’s going to be a small window with the school year almost over. No kid wants to sit out, but we have to see what the best situation is going to be.”
|Anthony Hickey: Scored 8.9 points a game and led the Tigers with 125 assists and 69 steals.|
To that end, Anthony Hickey Jr. will be back next week to wrap up the academic semester.
Whether there’s a new coach or not, Anthony Hickey Sr. said his son also wants to speak to some of his teammates about their futures. Besides Hickey, though, none of the seven remaining scholarship players are expected to leave, at least not on their own.
Anthony Hickey Sr. said the relationship between his son and Johnson was strong throughout the season, something Johnson alluded to often during the season.
A starter from day one, Anthony Hickey Jr. averaged 8.9 points, 3.8 assists and 3.6 rebounds a game and led the Tigers with 69 steals. He was voted to the All-SEC Freshmen Team by league coaches
“I don’t think there was a problem there with (Johnson) at all,” Hickey Sr. said. “He never came to me with a problem about Coach.”
The notion of not returning also has nothing to do with Hickey Jr. not feeling at home in the SEC either.
Spurned by most SEC programs – not recruited by most, including his home-state team despite being named Mr. Basketball in Kentucky – Anthony Hickey Jr. used that as motivation.
“He really enjoyed being in the SEC, he really enjoyed that part of his season,” Anthony Hickey Sr. said. “He excelled his first year in SEC, and against some of the teams that overlooked him, he got a chance to prove himself.”
Whether that opportunity continues or Hickey transfers will be determined in the next few days and weeks.