LSU basketball update

John Brady has made a habit of developing some good high school players into solid college players.

Guys like Collis Temple III, Ronald Dupree and Brad Bridgewater are all examples. But no doubt the most impressive development is that of LSU redshirt freshman Tyrus Thomas.

Relatively unknown out of Baton Rouge's McKinley High School, Brady recruited Thomas as a project. Thjomas had potential and a wide wing span, but he was smallish in size and was pretty thin.

Things changed in a hurry for Thoms, though, and the second-year Tiger has grown into the biggest surprise on the floor for Brady's bunch.

"He came here 6-7, 185 pounds and now he is 6-9, 218," Brady said. "He has bounced forward quicker then anyone we have had (at LSU). The next player that did that was Stromile between his freshman and sophomore year."

In three games, Thomas is a combined 21 of 25 from the floor. Against Southern, Thomas was 7 of 8 for 18 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Versus Nicholls State, Thomas was 10 of 11 from the floor scoring 22 points and an amazing 12 boards. Thomas scored eight points with rebounds going 4 of 6 from the floor at West Virginia.

"He missed two shots in two games and he is just scratching the surface," Brady said after the Nicholls game.

LSU's 9th-year coach did say he has not been happy with Thomas' conditioning, something he would like to see improve as the season wears on.

"I challenged Tyrus Thomas tonight," Brady said last week. "He looks like he can go about seven minutes hard and then he gets tired. Myabe that is my fault that I haven't gotten him in good enough shape. But I told him I am going to do him a favor and run him after practice until he can play harder for longer. He is a very talented guy, but he just needs some discipline in his game."

Thomas understands his coach's concerns.

"I am a little disappointed in myself with my conditioning," Thomas said. "I am not where I need to be there. But I am working everyday to get better and improve that."

Brady praised Thomas for his work ethic, though, as well as his patience.

"For guys who stay with it and are patient, things pay off," Brady said. "Our program is going to develop players and we have done that since I have been here. It is not easy because we place demands on them, challenge players to be better. He (Thomas) has bought into us. Now, the next step for him is to get in the best condition of his life."

Thomas said redshirting in his first year on campus was the best thing he could have done.

"My main objective was to get on the floor and play," Thomas said. "I have done that and now I have to try and perfect my play at my position, at the four."

"I was able to watch the game, watch how the game is played," Thomas said. "I got to watch things done with different defenses and offense, watch the game instead of jumping right in there."

Thomas' teammates have taken notice of Thomas' development and are excited about his contributions to the team.

"He is a great player," Davis said. "That redshirt freshman year really worked out for him and allowed him to grow into the player he is today."

Getting settled

With junior point guard out of commission until the first week of December, Brady has been using different combinations of guards to get younger players more minutes of experience.

"We have taken Garrett off the point and using Ben (Voogd) as a backup to give those guys some quality minutes," Brady said. "We've been using Garrett at the two and the three, which gives some more minutes. With him running the point, it was too much for us to do with the numbers we have right now."

Brady expects to insert Minor into the lineup when or shortly after he returns.

"When Tack settles in, we think ben can be a great backup there right now, move Darrel back off the ball and have Garrett come in some at the two and three," Brady said. "We try and give Tasmin (Mitchell) necessary rest so we have played Darnell Lazare at the three."

Hopefully, Brady plans to pair Minor and Mitchell up in the backcourt and let Davis lead a group of big men in the low post the remainder of the way.

"I think we will run it pretty much like last year with tack (Minor) at the one, (Darrel) Mitchell at the two and then Tasmin at the three," Brady said. "Around the goal, Darnell (Lazare) and Tyrus Thomas will play down at the four and of course Glen (Davis) at the five."

Goodbye Gransberry

The homecoming of former Woodlawn star Kentrell Gransberry was short lived.

After dressing for one exhibition game, in which the 6-9, 270-pound forward played only two minutes, Gransberry has informed Brady he wishes to transfer someplace else where might garner more playing time.

"He has asked to be released to attend either UL-Monroe, Southeastern or South Alabama at this time," Brady said. "Those are schools where he can and gain the amount of playing time he wishes immediately I am sure."

Brady was undernthe impression Gransberry wanted to play close to home when he signed with the Tigers last season.

"We signed Kentrell early and for all he knew we had Brandon Bass coming back," Brady said. "I was under the impression he wanted to come back to Baton Rouge, his home, play basketball and graduate from LSU. I figured whatever role he could fulfill he would do that."

However, with the acquisition of big men Magnum Rolle and Chris Johnson as well as the development of Tyrus Thomas, Gransberry may have seen the writing on the wall.

"As we moved along, he wanted a bigger role on our team," Brady said. "He felt like the playing time he was going to get wasn't going to be there as much as he would have liked. We talked about sitting him out and redshirting him, but even doing that our discussion led to the situation that he would be in the same spot next year because everybody on our team would be back."

Brady had hoped Gransberry would remain and bide his time waiting patoently for his chance to shine.

"I think some players get hurt, go pro, get better, don't know about who plays when and how they develop," Brady said. "In order to release him, I could choose not to release a player, I've never done that before. I can turn down requested releases to certain schools if I don't want to release him to a certain school."

Brady did say he was sad to see Gransberry leave and admitted to being a little upset with the Baton Rouge product.

"He is a fine young guy, but I am disappointed that he wouldn't stay with us," Brady said. "I don't think you should make a decision on a short-term outlook of how much you think you will play. I wish him well and have no problems with him. I hope everything works out."

A red shirt for Farrer

In other hoops news last week, Brady announced Phoenix freshman Alex Farrer will sit out this season choosing to redshirt.

"Alex Farrer will redshirt this year because he thinks he needs some more maturity," Brady said. "He is probably correct in that assumption. I didn't go to him on that he came to us and wanted to do that."

Brady praised Farrer's maturity and complimented him in wanting to stick with the program and get better with time.

"He knew when Tack (Minor) comes back, he knew our perimeter would be moved around a little bit and he sees the benefit of what that (redshirting) has done for Garrett (Temple) and Tyrus Thomas," Brady said. "That is a very positive and mature thing for him to do."

Tiger Blitz Top Stories