In the first installment of a three-part "Season in Review" series, TSD examines guard play on the 2012-13 LSU basketball team, which just finished the campaign at 19-12.
Be on the look-out in the coming days for part two (recapping how the LSU big men performed) and part three (how this year's team blends into next year).
LSU's guards in 2012-13
Year one in Johnny Jones' system brought some good and some bad from the perimeter, where the Tigers were likely more talented and certainly deeper than they were in the frontcourt. A total of six perimeter players dressed out for LSU this season, with four – Anthony Hickey, Andre Stringer, Charles Carmouche and Malik Morgan – getting the lion's share of the minutes.
Among the good from the guards: Midway through the Seton Hall game, Jones drew up a full-court press that became a hallmark of the Tigers this season. It was largely through good traps and quick hands by the guards (and forward Shavon Coleman) that this press was as effective as it was. In fact steals in general were a strong point for the Tigers, who swiped 9.1 balls per game, good enough for 12th in the country and second in the SEC (just behind Arkansas). LSU also set the program record for made threes in a season with 234.
Among the bad from the guards: To get to 234 threes, the Tigers had to attempt a whopping 658 trifectas. Now, 35.6% isn't a bad team average from downtown at all, but it does illustrate just how reliant LSU became on the deep shot this season, failing to find other ways to create in half-court sets … especially against zone defenses. LSU also fell victim to major scoring nights from opposing shooting guards against a number of SEC teams (Mississippi State, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, etc.). Part of the issue was a lack of height in the starting backcourt of Hickey and Stringer.
Here are individual breakdowns of all six of LSU's perimeter players.
PG Anthony Hickey
Final Stats: 11.2 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 3.8 apg, 2.9 spg, 38.6% FGs
This was probably not the sophomore follow-up Anthony Hickey had in mind after making the SEC All-Freshman team a year ago. The non-conference portion of LSU's schedule saw Hickey disciplined or suspended by Jones no less than three times. Once he became a more steady presence for SEC ball, his play was anything but consistent. Hickey was one of the nation's best at causing turnovers, but when the pace slowed down he proved to be an average distributor who settled too often for threes (Hickey attempted 183 triples, or 27.8% of the team total). He also wasn't the same defender when teams steered the game away from transition. Hickey did his best as LSU's engine when the pace was high, but he'll have to learn how to also perform at a different speed.
PG Corban Collins
Final Stats: 2.6 ppg, 1.0 rpg, 0.6 apg, 46.2% 3s
The freshman learning curve was steep for backup point guard Corban Collins, who signed with LSU after the spring signing period last year, making the switch from a 2013 prospect to 2012 at the last minute. He was most effective shooting from deep, showing good consistency from three when filling in for Hickey or taking mop-up duty (as he did well in the final game versus Florida). Aside from adjusting to the speed of the game, Collins also had to deal with injury – sitting out several games after a nasty collision with SEC Player of the Year Kentavious Caldwell-Pope in Athens this January. Collins will have to take big steps to earn more of Jones' trust considering he averaged just 9.1 minutes per game this season.
SG Andre Stringer
Final Stats: 10.4 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 2.1 apg, 40.9% 3s
Andre Stringer's role in 2012-13 was more like it should have been all along, but there wasn't enough additional talent around him the two years prior to accommodate it. This past season, with Charles Carmouche and Malik Morgan in the fold, Stringer got to do what he does best – play off the ball and spot up to shoot. He was good, but not great, from beyond the arc, shooting 40.9% (better than his 39.6% mark from the field, though). Stringer was also LSU's third-leading assist man and wasn't that bad in one-on-one defending, giving good first-half performances against Marshall Henderson and Caldwell-Pope. In all Stringer became a more effective player in his junior season and gives Jones arguably the team's best deep threat and quick-scoring option next year.
G Charles Carmouche
Final Stats: 10.7 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 3.6 apg, 1.9 spg, 44.1% FGs
Nobody expected a year like this from Charles Carmouche outside of the Carmouche household. The senior transfer was wonderfully well-rounded, chipping in with threes and points when needed (mostly in the second half of the SEC slate), pushing Hickey for the team lead in assists, grabbing rebounds and steals, and shooting at a high percentage for a guard. Carmouche truly was the glue for this year's team, doing whatever the Tigers needed to stay in ballgames and hold leads late. He was also far and away LSU's best wing defender (ask Elston Turner), which is where he will be missed most next season. Funny, but it turned out to be Carmouche, not Hickey, who is the prototypical player in Jones' system.
G Malik Morgan
Final Stats: 5.3 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 1.3 apg, 1.2 spg, 40.9% FGs
Two years ago a right-handed, slightly taller but less aggressive version of Malik Morgan played his freshman season at LSU. That player's name was Ralston Turner, and he averaged 12.3 points per game as a rookie. It would be easy to look at Morgan's final line as a frosh and deem it less successful by comparison, but that wasn't necessarily the case. Turner was asked to lead the team in 2010-11. In 2012-13, Morgan was able to play a supporting role, one he grew in and, for almost half the season, was able to steal a starting spot from Carmouche. Morgan showed he's LSU's next-best threat from deep aside from Stringer and that he's a very capable rebounder for someone standing 6-foot-4. The future is very bright for Morgan, who will step into even bigger shoes as a sophomore. He will have to focus on one area more than anything: learning to defend with his feet, not his hands.
G Shane Hammink
Final Stats: 2.1 ppg, 1.7 rpg, 0.8 apg, 34.5% FGs
Shane Hammink had an interesting year as a true freshman. The international player and son of a former LSU hoopster never quite had a position. He came in, touted as a guy who could play and defend the one, two and three spots. Jones, however, quickly made it known that Hammink was most viable as a four, bringing athleticism and quickness to the position. Even in Jones' system, where players one through four can at times be interchangeable, that experiment never seemed to work. As a result Hammink was buried on the bench for most of the season, averaging only 10.8 minutes per game. With even more wing talent coming in to the team for next season (Jordan Mickey, Tim Quarterman), it continues to be a little difficult to decipher where Hammink fits in.
LSU Season Review, Part One
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