Basketball season is right around the corner for the 2002-'03 LSU squad and Tigers coach John Brady hopes it is as successful during the season as he has been in the offseason.
Brady had already secured pledges from two outstanding prospects, but Houston point guard Taurean "Tack" Minor now gives the head man three verbal commitments with the early signing period right around the corner in November.
Minor, a 5-11, 185-pounder, averaged 31 points, seven rebounds, six assists and three steals during his junior season at Booker T. Washington. TheInsiderHoops.com rates him the fifth-best shooting guard in the country, while Hoop Scoop considers him the 26th top overall prospect in the nation.
Guards like Minor can make a big difference during tournament time because he is an excellent ball handler and a deadly shooter from the perimeter. Since he turned down scholarship offers from basketball powers, such as Arizona, North Carolina, Duke, Connecticut and Cincinnati, many are asking why LSU?
"When I went to visit at LSU and I got to hang out with my friend Brandon Bass, I felt like I was at home," said Minor, who is fully qualified with a 4.0 GPA and a 1280 on the SAT. "LSU also has a good academic center and that is one of the main reasons I chose it. The coaches over there are the types that will let you play. They're not going to be on your back every time you do something wrong. When I hung out with the team, it was like being with my high school teammates. Plus they have good food in Baton Rouge."
Sure, the LSU program has been through some times but the best is ahead for Brady and the Tigers as they now have a full compliment of scholarship players and are ready to challenge for their second Southeastern crown in the last four years. Now, that Minor has pulled the trigger, there could be another huge coup for Brady that could make the 2003 class one of the best in the country.
"Brandon and I decided to go ahead and commit but he said he was going to wait until his birthday in November," Minor said. "I went ahead and got it over with. We're like brothers. We're real cool together and can't wait to play on the same team."
Minor and Bass played against one another during the summer but a knee injury put a damper on Minor's game. However, the summer was not a waste for Minor by any means. He was able to build a friendship with Bass and work on some fundamentals that he may not have been able to improve on otherwise.
"It was fun over the summer," Minor said. "I played alright but I was hurt most of the time. It still helped my game get better, especially with my passing because that is what I really worked on. The guys I played with enabled me to pick things up a little because my high school teammates had trouble catching some of my passes because they were not ready all of the time."
LSU fans will have to wait and see if Bass (6-8, 220), who is the 11th ranked player overall according to Hoop Scoop, joins Minor as a Tiger commitment but the two together could form one of the best freshman duos in the country. LSU's class is already getting a lot of attention with its two early commitments in swingman Regis Koundjia (6-7, 190) of Laurinburg Prep-North Carolina and forward Darnell Lazare (6-8, 200) of Woodlawn-Baton Rouge, but the addition of Bass would give the Tigers their best signing class since the late 80's.
"They say it's one of the top three classes in the country," Minor said. "I feel real good about that because we can go in and make an immediate impact."
Cincinnati came in a close second for Minor's services but Bearcats coach Bob Huggins made one huge mistake that Brady cashed in on.
"It was real close between LSU and Cincinnati," Minor said. "But Cincinnati's coach never came and told me how bad he wanted me. With LSU, coach Brady came and visited me himself and let me know how bad he wanted me. If he (Huggins) would have come and talked to me and not sent his assistant coach all of the time then things could have been different. Now, I am solid on LSU and Cincinnati does not have a chance."
Minor said LSU fans would be in for a treat when he sports the purple and gold next year.
"Excitement and energy is what I am bringing to Baton Rouge," he said. "I like to run the game and shoot the rock. I can shoot it."