Mickey tested the NBA waters, receiving feedback from professional evaluators, but he ultimately decided his game needs more improvement to be ready for the next level. He said he didn't reach a final decision until Tuesday, five days before the deadline for underclassmen to declare.
For Mickey, that improvement will start with every aspect of his game. He mentioned getting bigger, stronger and faster while getting quicker with his footwork. That will all start this offseason as he'll continue in the LSU strength and conditioning program while also participating in national skill camps as well, similar to what Johnny O'Bryant did last summer.
LSU coach Johnny Jones will have back both of the premier freshman from last year's squad with Mickey and Jarell Martin. Jones learned of Mickey's decision Tuesday, and though he would've supported him either way, he was pleased with the outcome.
"I was comfortable with how smart he is that he would weigh the process the right way to make a solid, sound decision," Jones said. "I knew he could go either way, but I'm glad he came to the decision that he did."
Mickey was one of the top freshmen in the country this past season, earning a spot on the All-SEC Freshman Team and second-team All-Conference. His 3.1 blocks per game ranked him ninth nationally and his 106 blocks were the fourth highest single season total program history.
But no longer will he be the young guy on the court as he expects to accept a bigger leadership role.
"I definitely have to be more vocal to lead my team better," Mickey said. "I have to make sure everyone's working hardest, doing everything right. It's a big leadership role for me."
With Mickey and Martin still in the fold, plus the additions of guys like Josh Gray, Elbert Robinson and Keith Hornsby, the Tigers will certainly have aspirations of getting to the Big Dance after falling short this season. The allure of the NCAA Tournament was a big factor in Mickey's decision to come back.
"I want to help my team wins games," Mickey said. "I definitely want to go to the NCAA tournament next year…It's a big motivating factor. Every college athlete wants to get to the tournament."