ON THE BEAT: Breaking Down The Tigers

TigerSportsDigest.com Publisher Ben Love is in Pittsburgh covering LSU's run through the NCAA Tournament. Love spoke in-depth with Pack Pride about the Tigers, and here is Part II of our interview.

TigerSportsDigest.com Publisher Ben Love is in Pittsburgh covering LSU's run through the NCAA Tournament. Love spoke in-depth with Pack Pride about the Tigers, and here is Part II of our interview.

Love discussed LSU's offensive and defensive systems in Part I of our interview, and today he breaks down their personnel.


We will talk about the top scoring trio later, but can you discuss LSU's perimeter personnel, outside of Keith Hornsby?
Keith Hornsby is the best shooter and the next guy in line is Jalyn Patterson, a true freshman. He had a really good high school career at Montverde Academy, and he's a clutch guy. They don't mind him shooting at all. He and Hornsby have the green light.

Tim Quarterman is not a focal point offensively, but he is playing point guard and getting them in their sets. He's stable. He's is the best defender on the team, certainly the best perimeter defender. I imagine he'll spend a lot of time on Lacey and Turner. At 6'6 he can really defend.

Keith Hornsby

They've also found a use for Josh Gray when they face zones. He can get in the cracks of the zone playing the point but his minutes have been limited since being removed from the starting lineup. He came in as the leading scorer in junior college basketball last year, so his role has change and he's had to adjust his game.

Keith Hornsby was recruited by NC State before going to LSU, and it seems like he's had a good year, shooting over 39% from 3-point range and averaging 13.4 points per game. What have you seen from Hornsby?
Martin and Mickey are LSU's best players, but I'm not so sure if down the stretch he hasn't been the most consistent. Hornsby has had 15 straight games of double figures, and no LSU player has done that in five years.

Even if his shots aren't going in, he can attack the basket. He's more athletic than you think. He gets points in transition, has great body control, and is very strong at 6'4. He can finish at the rim and absorb contact.

They can go to him late in the shotclock and late in games. He made the game-winning shot at Arkansas. Anthony Hickey was that guy for LSU last year, and it's transitioned over to Hornsby. That's more than likely who they are going to down the stretch.

I'd say he's had a better season than most projected. He's been a rock.

Jarell Martin was first-team All-SEC and is a dynamic athlete. Break down his game.
I've never seen someone at 6'10 and 240 pounds play the game he's capable of playing. I think he envisions himself as more like Kevin Durant than Lamarcus Aldridge, so he spent his freshman season trying to prove that point. He played a perimeter-oriented game and with Mickey and O'Bryant he could do that, but now he's playing more minutes at the four instead of the three-spot.

Jarell Martin

He gets most of his points from 12-15 feet and in... that's safe to say. Now that he's dedicated to playing more inside he averages nine plus rebounds a game and can get putbacks. He can bully smaller guys inside, and I'm telling you if teams put guys on him that can't move on the perimeter they'll let him go off the dribble. He has a really diverse game, and LSU has needed him more inside.

He's been fairly dominant at the four in college this year and I don't know if there's a more lethal finisher in transition. He's fearless.

Looking at Jordan Mickey, he leads the country in blocked shots and he's listed at 6'8. Is that accurate, and is he a low-post scorer?
Well, it's his wingspan and timing. He's 6'8, and I think his wingspan is closer to 7'6. He's going to be an undersized [post], and I don't think he can play the post on next level, but he's a great college four because of his athleticism and shot-blocking ability. I can't tell you how many times he's had multiple blocks on the same possessions. He's relentless and has great timing.

Offensively, he doesn't have a huge array of moves in the post. They aren't comfortable throwing it in to him a lot, and the ball stops when Jordan gets it in there. He turns it over some and teams double him a lot. He's at his best around the elbow from 15-16 feet where he can pull big men out and that opens up driving lanes for Martin and Hornsby. He gets a lot as well on offensive putbacks.

LSU basically plays six guys right now so they are really thin. Who is the x-factor for the Tigers?
It almost has to be Josh Gray... the only other guys are Darcy Malone and Brian Bridgewater. Neither are guys they use a lot.

Josh Gray, as an x-factor, is a good way to look at it. Like I said earlier, he began the season as the starter at point guard before being removed later in the year. They beat Arkansas on the road, and he had five assists and one turnover. They lose to Auburn, and he had one assist and five turnovers. They needed someone off the bench and Josy Gray didn't play well.

When they need that extra guy they are going to have to get him in transition and in the lane against zones.

I'd say Josy Gray is that guy. Outside of him, there isn't much to speak of off the bench because they just don't play those guys a lot.

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