Role changing in year two for Aaron Epps

The sophomore from Tioga will be "more of a four" for the Tigers in 2015-16, head coach Johnny Jones explained Tuesday.

LSU basketball got its 2015-16 season preparations underway Saturday, tipping off preseason practices and getting ready for an Australian tour later this month.

One player who finds himself cast in a different role already is sophomore forward Aaron Epps.

Epps (6-9, 220) spent much of his debut campaign in Baton Rouge overcoming injury while also shifting back and forth from the three to the four, more often that not operating from the perimeter.

The Tioga product played in 14 ballgames, starting twice, and averaged 1.3 points and 1.4 rebounds.

Now, at the onset of a new season, head coach Johnny Jones made no bones about the fact he wants Epps more inside in year two, partly because the team needs bodies in the paint.

"Aaron Epps has continued to grow and get better as a player," Jones said Tuesday. "From year one to year two he's done some good things and we're excited about the progress he's made.

"He's going to be more of a four (this season), an inside guy for us. Last year we stretched him a little bit and tried to play him in two different slots, and I thought we probably did him a disservice by doing that and trying to force him to learn (both spots) because of our lack of depth."

Minus All-SEC forwards Jarell Martin and Jordan Mickey, there is a vacancy on the interior for the Bayou Bengals.

Epps is one of a trio of players, including Darcy Malone and Elbert Robinson III, who has a chance to stake claim to playing time while transfer forward Craig Victor is out (Victor isn't allowed to practice or play until mid-December).

He looks to be healthy, too, following sports hernia surgery in May that sidelined Epps for 6-8 weeks earlier this summer.

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