See the bottom of this story for links to previously penned profiles on No. 1 Anthony Hickey, No. 2 Johnny O'Bryant, No. 5 Shavon Coleman, No. 10 Andre Stringer and No. 11 Shane Hammink.
Jarell Martin is the most anticipated freshman to hit campus for LSU basketball since fellow five-star Anthony Randolph arrived in Baton Rouge in 2007, and maybe even farther back than that.
Part of the appeal of Martin, an all-purpose forward standing almost 6-foot-10, is that he's a local kid, coming to TigerTown via Madison Prep.
But his skills on the court alone are enough reason for LSU fans to be excited about the youngster's prospects in 2013-14. A possible one-and-done candidate, Martin has shooting touch and perimeter game in the body of a power forward.
Second-year LSU coach Johnny Jones has made no secret of the fact he intends to deploy Martin at the three to begin the season. In fact the preferred frontcourt starting lineup seems to have Martin in that position with Jordan Mickey, another freshman, and junior Johnny O'Bryant at the four and five, respectively.
"That'll be a great combination out there, something that we've looked at throughout the year with Johnny at the center, Jordan Mickey at the four and Jarell Martin playing the three," Jones said on Tuesday. "That's a tremendous combination that we've worked on this year. At times they've really executed and played extremely well together. All three guys are capable of shooting outside shots or posting on the block. All three guys are good passers and have done an excellent job of taking care of the ball and making the simple plays for us. So, I could see that combination quite often."
None of this is to say Jones will abandon the concept of playing Martin, who weighs 240 pounds, in the post at times. With the continuous grind of SEC play, Jones knows LSU will need plenty of bodies inside.
"I'd like to see him master both the four and the three because the better he gets then it gives us an opportunity to be a better basketball team," Jones explained. "He can shoot on the perimeter and force the opponent to put a bigger defender on him because he can post up. He can get a shot or create other opportunities for players on his team because he has the ball skills to do it."
Jones did warn that with the new hand-checking rules, he anticipates Martin's biggest adjustment will come on the defensive end, especially if he's matched up on smaller wings. "The biggest challenge will be defensively – he has great feet, but it will be tougher to make that adjustment."
One of the most important things to watch for Martin this season is how he syncs up with O'Bryant, LSU's other McDonald's All-American with two additional years seasoning, on both sides of the ball. Particularly on offense, the two figure to bring different elements on the floor and their passing, communication and sense of spacing will determine just how the Tigers' offense flows.
Martin and the rest of the 2013-14 Tigers will make their debuts tonight in an exhibition game versus Xavier (New Orleans). Check back to TSD following the game, where we'll have reaction from Martin on his first public run with LSU.
How high can Martin fly in 2013-14?
PG Anthony Hickey
F Johnny O'Bryant
F Shavon Coleman
G Andre Stringer
F Shane Hammink