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, No. 12 Jarell Martin, No. 22 Darcy Malone, No. 24 Malik Morgan, No. 25 Jordan Mickey and No. 31 John Odo.
Tim Quarterman is challenging Anthony Hickey for the starting point guard job.
And while it is undeniably true that Johnny Jones is sending a disciplinary message to Hickey, a two-year returning starter, Quarterman's showing over the past seven weeks has also given Jones confidence that he can play both.
In the Tigers' 80-45 exhibition win over Xavier (N.O.), Quarterman started and dished out six assists, grabbed three rebounds and two steals against one turnover in 22 minutes of action. He did not, however, score, shooting 0-of-4 from the field and missing his only free throw attempt. Hickey came off the bench and scored seven points, making 2-of-4 shots from deep, to go with two rebounds, three assists and five steals with no turnovers in 19 minutes.
"I think both of those guys were excellent tonight," reflected Jones. "I thought Hickey came in and gave us that energy that he's capable of giving whether he's starting the game or coming off the bench. I thought Tim did an excellent job with handling the ball, creating opportunities for his teammates on the floor and did an excellent job of shadowing their guards and not giving them easy looks at the basket. And I think that's what he's capable of doing as a defender.
"So I think they really complement each other well out there on the floor and that's a really good combination to have out there."
Quarterman, the reigning high school player of the year in the state of Georgia, is the ultimate facilitator, constantly looking for teammates on the break and in halfcourt sets. Jones has said on multiple occasions that the staff is encouraging him to shoot more.
To the player's credit, he at least owns it.
"I'm more passive," Quarterman responds when asked the difference between him and Hickey. "On defense we're very similar, we like to shoot in the gaps and get in the lanes and get steals. Offensively, I'm more passive and he likes to get in the lane, but moth of us can make plays."
The Savannah native has been assertive despite his rookie status this preseason, something several teammates, including senior Andre Stringer, have noted in recent weeks. To Quarterman, communicating effectively and frequently on the court is an important part of his game.
"Yes, every day (I make my voice is heard)," Jones acknowledged during LSU Media Day. "I make sure I voice my opinion every day and just talk my teammates up and encourage them when they're down. I try to get them in spots where they can make plays where they feel comfortable on the court."
At 6-6 he also brings a great deal of size and length on the defensive end, and Jones has made it no secret he loves being able to put Quarterman on opposing point guards. Quarterman can also potentially see some minutes off the ball if he and Hickey overlap briefly on the floor, which happened for about 90 seconds in the exhibition.
Still, it's breaking into the scoring department and filling it up more often that will spell the difference between Quarterman being an elite freshman point guard in the SEC and a guy who can fill a role and contribute five assists a night.
Even Quarterman conceded he hasn't flashed his entire repertoire offensively yet, giving reporters a few laughs after the Xavier (N.O.) win. "Naw, y'all didn't see all of it [my game]. You've seen a little sneak peak, but I just tried to get players like Andre, great shooters, the ball where they could make buckets. That's what they did tonight … Just a sneak peak."
What are your expectations for Quarterman this season?
PG Anthony Hickey
F Johnny O'Bryant
F Shavon Coleman
G Andre Stringer
F Shane Hammink
F Jarell Martin
F/C Darcy Malone
G Malik Morgan
F Jordan Mickey
F/C John Odo