Making the trip

While their 2009 recruiting focus appears to be narrowed down to a select few prospects, Trent Johnson and his staff are working hard on the class of 2010. They have identified another early out of state target that fits what they are looking for in power forward Jalen Courtney from Provine High School in Jackson, Miss.

LSU called my coach last week and told him I had an offer,” said Courtney. “I am very excited about the offer for several reasons.”

 

The six-foot-eight, 210-pound Courtney is currently rated a three-star prospect by Scout.com for the class of 2010. In addition to LSU, he says he’s also received scholarship offers from Arkansas, Missouri and Auburn, along with interest from Memphis, Marquette, Wake Forest, Oklahoma and Kentucky.

 

But the offer from LSU seems to hold a special place in the young man’s heart.

 

“To tell you the truth, I’m a huge LSU fan,” Courtney said. “I’ve been an LSU fan ever since I became serious about basketball. I know all about the history of LSU basketball. I’ve been down for a couple of games this year, most recently the Arkansas game a few weekends ago, and I’m going to be coming back down this weekend for the Ole Miss game.”

 

When Courtney spoke about the history he touched on several big men that have made their way to the NBA including Shaquille O’Neal, Stromile Swift, Tyrus Thomas, Brandon Bass and Glen Davis.

 

Another big draw for Courtney, however, deals with the present rather than the past in head coach Trent Johnson.

 

“I love Trent Johnson,” he said. “I love his style and the way he coaches. He has the team playing well and playing defense first. Their offense is generated from their defense, and I really like that.”

 

Courtney knows all about players that have developed under Johnson and taken their game to the next level, and he says he is confident that the Tigers’ headman would bring his game to another level as well.

 

“I need to work on my ball handling and just becoming a better all around player,” Courtney said. “I think coach Johnson would really help me develop and take my game to a higher level. He did it with the Lopez brothers at Stanford. They are where they are now because of coach Johnson.”

 

Courtney says he is averaging about 21 points and 12 rebounds per game this season. He and his teammates at Provine will begin their run in the state playoffs next week.

 

Provine is currently 21-6 on the year and ranked No. 4 in the state in the Class 5A state rankings.

 

Courtney feels confident that Provine can continue its run deep into the postseason and he compares their situation to LSU, who is leading the SEC overall race by two games heading into this weekend’s tip with Ole Miss.

 

The comparisons with LSU don’t end there, though, as Courtney sees himself filling a similar role to one of the catalysts that has helped the Tigers make their remarkable run this season.

 

“I think I’m very similar to Tasmin Mitchell as a player,” Courtney said. “I’m a little taller than he is, but we have the same type of game. I’m comfortable posting up. Mid range, I’m comfortable from anywhere, and I can step out and knock down the three.”


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