Accepting of his new role

When Alex Farrer picked up a scholarship offer from LSU in May of 2005 it was quite a surprise. The Phoenix (Ariz.) St. Mary's product was headed to nearby Phoenix College, but a showing in an AAU Tournament in Las Vegas gave him an option that he didn't expect.

As a senior, Farrer played on a team that also included current Portland Trailblazers’ point guard Jerryd Bayless.


Bayless was only a sophomore at the time and after one season with the Arizona Wildcats he moved on to the NBA.


Bayless was the player that everyone talked about on the St. Mary’s squad that finished 24-7 and advanced to the Arizona Class 5A state championship game. However, Farrer played a pivotal role in the Knights’ march to the finals and averaged 17.5 points, 9.2 rebounds and three blocked shots a game that season.


While Bayless’ college career was short lived, Farrer, who only had one Division-I offer, is in the back end of his fourth year at LSU.


After redshirting for the 2005-06 campaign, Farrer played 86 minutes during the following season and scored 18 points in 14 games.


The little known guard from out west saw significant playing time last season when he replaced Terry Martin in the starting lineup two games into the conference schedule. Farrer started 14 of the last 15 contests and although he averaged only three points a game he gave Martin a chance to watch the game develop as he became the Tigers’ sixth man.


Heading into his junior season, Farrer knew that his role would be different with Tasmin Mitchell returning to the floor and with the emergence of Bo Spencer.


In LSU’s first 14 games which were all out of conference, Farrer, who averages only 2.1 points a game, averaged 14 minutes on the floor. Over the last 11 outings, however, he’s clocking only 5.3 minutes on the court and did not see any time in consecutive games against Xavier and Tennessee.


After seeing more action the previous season, Farrer had hoped that he would get more time in the early part of this campaign. But, he fully understands and accepts the decisions that Trent Johnson made.


“A lot of it is my fault and I need to have more confidence in myself,” Farrer said. “That’s what basketball is, 80 percent confidence. If you have a belief that you can do something then you’re much more likely to succeed. I kind of struggled a little bit and I put more pressure on myself. After every missed shot I’d say, I would want for myself to make the next shot and when you start putting those expectations on yourself it kinds of weighs on you.”


The confidence that the six-foot-five, 200-pound guard alluded to contributed to the amount of playing time he received, but the process of Johnson getting familiar with his players in his first year on the job also came into play.


“I said what I’ve always said that I could have done a better job as it relates to a guy like Alex, who I have high expectations for and always will have, for getting him in games in certain situations,” Johnson said. “He’s always come out in practice and approached it the same way and done a real good job.”


Farrer has seen more significant action of late. Although he was credited with only one minute of action in LSU’s double overtime win against Mississippi State last Wednesday, his free throw with 24 seconds left made it a two possession game.


The following game, Farrer saw his most extensive action since conference play started with 13 minutes on the floor against Ole Miss last Saturday.


Farrer replaced Martin, who started for an injured Spencer, at the 8:56 mark and with the Rebels holding a 62-54 lead. Ole Miss’ leading scorer David Huertas had 15 of the Rebels’ 62 points and Farrer drew the task of defending him.


“We wanted to take him out and have Alex who is fundamentally sound,” Johnson said. “We thought there wasn’t that much of a quickness disadvantage and we thought we could get the job done there. It had nothing to do with Terry. It had to do with Alex and how well he’s been playing.”


From that point on, LSU outscored the Rebels 19-4 and Huertas was held scoreless with four misses from the field after knocking down 7-of-13 shots prior to that.


“It’s difficult to explain because if you do a good job defensively and they make a shot, no one remembers that you may have done a great job defensively,” Farrer said of defending Huertas. “So it’s kind of a combination of maybe I did a good job but he did miss a few shots, so not too much recognition should come my way because of that. I just tried to hustle and kind of be a little flea in his head, I guess.”


Farrer said that he was amazed that so many people recognized the job that he did defensively and he brushed it off with a response that would make Johnson happy.


“It’s by coincidence I guess,” he said. “Unless you’re that good at defense then it matters. All it is is effort and what you give and so I gave effort and it just benefitted us I guess.”


It wasn’t all glory for Farrer as he missed the front end on a pair of one-and-one foul shots, and he had a crucial turnover with 21 seconds left that led to an Ole Miss layup that cut the lead to 69-66.


Farrer, however, redeemed himself two seconds later when he knocked down two free throws and made it a two possession game once again.


“I was kind of hoping I’d get fouled so I could kind of redeem myself for the team and for myself,” Farrer said jokingly.


Farrer redeemed himself and he hopes that he gets more opportunities to show the LSU faithful that he can be counted on when his name is called.


As for the Johnson and the rest of the coaches, they already know that Farrer can be counted on.


“Alex can be his own worst enemy at times because he over thinks and over analyzes things as opposed to playing,” Johnson said. “I’ve always told him just play. We don’t need five coaches…He’s a big part of what we do and he’s a reason why guys like Marcus and guys like Bo are playing at a high level because in practice he’s always there.”

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