In the week or two leading up to LSU replacing Eric Musselman with John Treloar, announced on April 15, there were rumblings Johnny Jones would end up making two hires in the near future to resolve his 2015-16 staff.
So went the rumblings: Director of Basketball Operations Tom Kelsey, a former head coach at Belhaven, would be moving on to take another job; current assistant and longtime right-hand man for Jones, Charlie Leonard, would transition into Kelsey’s former role; and there would be a second open bench spot next to Jones and recruiting ace David Patrick.
Well, that appears to be exactly how it played out, even if LSU isn’t officially announcing the terms of its rotating jig-saw puzzle yet.
What the Tigers have announced is the hiring Friday of Al Pinkins, most recently an assistant for Tennessee and Ole Miss before that.
Pinkins has a number of connections to the Southeast on top of those two league jobs.
He’s from Camilla, Ga., was an eight-year assistant from 2003-11 at Middle Tennessee State and, most intriguing from a recruiting standpoint, played at Chipola Junior College in the mid-nineties. Chipola remains one of the most visible producers of JuCo talent in the nation.
The three-man LSU staff under Jones will feature Patrick, Pinkins and Treloar, giving LSU a solid balance of recruiting prowess, coaching/player development acumen and experience.
One of the keys for this group will be recruiting for 2016 and beyond. The Tigers’ roster is set up for success in 2015-16, but beyond the season on the horizon, LSU will potentially have a lot of holes to fill.
Possible-to-likely early entrants to the draft for the Bayou Bengals include Ben Simmons, Tim Quarterman and Antonio Blakeney. Then there are graduating seniors Josh Gray and Keith Hornsby. Couple that with the fact LSU is currently on 12 scholarships, one under the max, and there could be anywhere from four to six scholarship spots to fill.
One player who cropped up this weekend on the radar for 2016 is four-star Mario Kegler (Jacksonville). LSU reportedly offered the 6-foot-7 small forward, a player already receiving major interest across the country.
A final name to keep on the monitor is 2015 big man Noah Dickerson. Already signed with Florida, Dickerson has hinted he may look around and try to get out of his Letter of Intent with Billy Donovan gone. LSU was definitely in on Dickerson, a Montverde Academy teammate of Simmons’, prior to his commitment to the Gators.
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