LSU basketball has intentionally kept a scholarship free in anticipation of the midseason transfer market, but the Tigers may have a chance to cash in on a talented, proven college player sooner than that.
TSD has confirmed LSU is poised to make a run at Memphis transfer Austin Nichols, a 6-foot-9, 228-pound forward who requested to leave Josh Pastner's club in late June and has been granted his release with a number of conditions.
Nichols, who would have to sit out the 2015-16 season and then have two years of eligibility remaining, will not be permitted to move to an American Athletic Conference program, nor in-state rival Tennessee or any of Memphis' non-conference opponents in the next two seasons, according to ESPN's Jeff Goodman.
There's no doubt why many are getting in line for Nichols, who a season ago in his sophomore campaign averaged 13.3 points, 6.1 rebounds and blocked an impressive 3.4 shots in 27 games.
As a freshman Nichols slapped 19 points and eight rebounds on LSU the day after Thanksgiving as Memphis defeated the Bayou Bengals 76-69 in the semifinal of the 2013 Old Spice Classic. He went on to make the All-Tournament team in Orlando.
A blue-chip recruit from Briarcrest Christian School in the Memphis area, Nichols is being courted heavily by Notre Dame and Marquette, among others.
LSU, which after this season will lose seniors Josh Gray and Keith Hornsby and likely two others as early entrants to the NBA Draft, is now throwing its hat in the ring, too.
Where things could get complicated is that LSU and Memphis have been working on scheduling a home-and-home with one another, with the first leg rumored to be in Baton Rouge next season. It bears mentioning that Nichols could elect to enroll at the school of his choosing, even one on the restricted list, and pay his own way for the 2015-16 campaign.
More is expected to be known on this situation following the weekend.
LSU interested in transfer Austin Nichols
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