Hornsby impressing in practice

LSU transfer Keith Hornsby has had to settle for being a practice-only player during this 2013-14 season, but to those who've competed with and observed him over the past six months, it's clear the Tigers are getting a bonafide producer heading into next season.

So let's get past all the tired jokes and clichés.

Just about every time the name Keith Hornsby has been mentioned since the son of Grammy Award-winner Bruce transferred from UNC-Asheville to LSU, all you hear is some cleverly crafted version of "That's just the way it is" or "Some things will never change."

Once you get your share of those out of your system, a certain reality sets it as it pertains to Keith and LSU basketball – the Tigers are really going to lean on him in the two seasons to come.

Yes, JuCo scoring machine Josh Gray, more of a point guard, will also be in the backcourt mix beginning in 2014-15, but all indications point to Hornsby suiting up for significant minutes at the off-guard position with Andre Stringer and Shavon Coleman set to graduate.

So just who is Keith Hornsby on a basketball court?

There are the things you already know, that anybody with a smartphone can figure out in a few taps. Hornsby (6-4, 190), a former prep player at prestigious Oak Hill Academy, averaged 15.0 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.1 assists for UNC-Asheville during his sophomore season. He also shot 92.5% from the charity stripe.

But, now that he's had six months in Baton Rouge, I went searching for the latest on Hornsby, going straight to the sources – players and coaches who compete with and observe Hornsby in practice every day.

Here's what those who know are saying about the LSU transfer.

Johnny O'Bryant

"Keith is excellent for us in practice. He's a great player. He does a nice job of giving us a good scoring threat to have to guard every day."

"He's going to be great. He really is going to have a nice career here. From the SEC guards that I've seen since I've been here, I think he's right at the top. Keith is going to be a great player here."

"Keith's been a high-energy guy. He's always full of energy, running everywhere. He's a guy who hates it if he has to step out of a drill. He's just a fun guy to have around."

Better shooter or slasher? – "It's hard to pick. I'd say he shoots the ball extremely well, so I'll probably give him the nod there."

"I feel we could play together well. Keith's not a selfish player at all. He passes the ball if he doesn't have his shot. We could play well together, especially on pick-and-rolls and other things like that."

"He definitely has impressed me in practice. Keith is actually pretty amazing. He's a great shooter. He gives (Andre) Stringer a hard time in practice. They're always both battling with each other, shooting. It's a good matchup. They're making each other better."

"He's a good defender. He's a high-energy guy on the ball. Keith stays after it."

"Keith plays the two and three for us in practice."

"Me and him would do great on the court together. With his ability on offense, not only shooting it but attacking the rim aggressively, that will take a lot of pressure off me and Jordan (Mickey). You wouldn't be able to double-team us as much."

Do they talk about playing together next year? – "It's too early. We've never talked about it. I guess once summertime comes and the season's over, that's when we'll start looking into it."

"Keith's going to be really good. He's relentless, one of the most competitive people I've ever been around."

Color Analyst Ricky Blanton

"I think Keith Hornsby brings a passion for basketball to this LSU team that will be very welcome. He is committed to becoming a better basketball player and teammate, day-in and day-out. Plus he has proven numbers at the Division-I level, which I think it's always nice to know what you're getting going into the season."

Team Source

"Keith Hornsby is a dog out there on the floor. Watching him in open-court, I love his game and the intensity he brings, and it's obvious his teammates already have a ton of respect for him. I think he'll give LSU a consistent scorer that can do it in a lot of ways. More than that, you can expect he'll be a really big influence on that locker room once he starts playing."

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