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, No. 11 Shane Hammink and No. 12 Jarell Martin.
Johnny Jones and LSU landed Darcy Malone on the recruiting trail, there was some national buzz about the fact that the Tigers had reeled in a 7-foot Australian. However, beyond that, many wondered aloud just how much of a project the lanky foreign player, with more of a penchant for shooting than banging in the paint, would be.
After seeing Malone in action for only a few weeks this preseason, Jones made sure the masses knew this lad from down under may need some refining, but he's good enough to help the Tigers right away in 2013-14.
"It would be extremely tough," Jones responded on the notion of a redshirt season for Malone. "He's advanced. He's got good size, his strength is good and he's been really good this preseason."
Now, just how much Malone's skillset and progression will translate into playing time this season, considering LSU's added depth in the frontcourt, is yet to be seen.
In Wednesday's 80-45 exhibition win over Xavier (N.O.), Malone played 12 minutes, mostly in the second half, scoring one point and grabbing three rebounds to go with an assist and a blocked shot.
"I think I've adjusted really well," Malone told TSD earlier this preseason. "It's a lot faster than I was anticipating, but I think I've been able to sort of catch up and keep up with the rest of the guys. I think quite a few of us are on the same level; we haven't really had that experience before with college basketball."
Malone's niche seems to be as a stretch four (even if he possesses a center's height), able to grab a few rebounds and run the floor while preferring to shoot with range on the offensive end of the floor. The Aussie does have legitimate three-point range.
During Wednesday's exhibition contest, Malone was more active on the interior. It appeared with Johnny O'Bryant out in the second half due to foul trouble, Jones needed Malone's rebounding presence inside to assist John Odo late in the ballgame.
"I think I sort of benefit us with my flexibility," Malone explained. "I can run the trail or I can be the lead post. Depending on who else is on the floor, I may have to fill in and get rebounds."
The reality for Malone is that his contributions to this year's team will come mostly when other bigs for LSU are injured or gassed. Jones could also use Malone for a change-of-pace forward in certain games, depending on matchups, but he's probably a season away from averaging double-digit minutes for the Tigers.
Still, serving this season in an apprentice's role (while getting some occasional on-the-job training) on a good team will be invaluable to Malone once he does become a bigger part of the Bayou Bengals' on-court plans.
How do you see Malone's role in 2013-14?
PG Anthony Hickey
F Johnny O'Bryant
F Shavon Coleman
G Andre Stringer
F Shane Hammink
F Jarell Martin