SEC Hoops Preview 2003-04: LSU

In Part IX of a series of SEC men's basketball previews, VeeMan takes a look at the LSU Tigers.

SEC BASKETBALL 2003-04 PREVIEW The LSU Tigers

Returning Players

NAMECLASS MIN PPG %FG %3P %FT REB AST
Jaime Lloreda Sr 876 12.3 56.2 ---- 55.4 234 33
Antonio Hudson Jr 810 7.5 40.4 30.3 67.8 93 61
Darrel Mitchell So 634 7.041.3 42.4 73.2 70 58
Xavier Whipple Jr 321 2.7 52.6 35.7 66.7 25 40
Charlie Thompson Sr 140 0.5 55.6 25.0 50.0 12 18
Tony Gipson Jr 103 4.5 50.0 40.0 50.0 10 4
Tim Bush So 36 0.6 42.9 ---- 20.0 15 4

Players Lost

NAME MIN PPG %FG %3P %FT REB AST
Ronald Dupree 1062 15.8 52.9 35.1 67.9 250 77
Torris Bright 1014 11.1 45.9 40.8 72.7 99 150
Collis Temple III 826 10.8 43.5 37.5 77.5 112 54
Brad Bridgewater 403 3.0 48.8 ---- 48.1 57 10
Thomas Davis 65 2.1 65.2 ---- 40.0 15 3

New Players (rankings from PrepStars)

Milton Ambres 6-5 Redshirt freshman Unranked

Brandon Bass 6-8 Freshman #13 ranked

Regis Koundjia 6-8 Freshman #24 ranked

Darnell Lazare 6-7 Freshman Unranked

Taurean (Tack) Minor 5-11 Freshman #26 ranked

Ross Neltner 6-8 Freshman Unranked

Strengths

(1) An outstanding group of freshmen, three of whom are certain to see a lot of action in 2003-04. Brandon Bass is a 245-pound muscle-man who will be at one of the posts, with 6-8 Jaime Lloreda (also a 245-pounder) handling the other. Bass is a likely future all-conference player if he stays around for more than a year.

(2) Greatly improved play-making. Highly-regarded Tack Minor is expected to be one of the best young point guards in the country. He will be backed up by experienced Charlie Thompson (6-1).

(3) Good depth and ability on the wings. The 6-8 Regis Koundjia is more lightly built than Bass and should be ideal at shooting forward. 6-5 Antonio Hudson was a bit of a disappointment last year after a very promising freshman year, but will be solid if his shots go in with a bit more regularity. 5-11 Darrel Mitchell is a three-point threat who played well as a freshman. 6-2 Xavier Whipple started some games last year, but isn't much of a shooting threat and will probably have to be content with mop-up duty. 6-1 Tony Gipson showed promise last year before becoming academically ineligible after eleven games. Milton Ambres is not highly regarded.

Question Marks

(1) Depth at the posts? Lloreda and Bass are going to have to work overtime. There is a possibility that 6-8 Brad Bridgewater will be allowed an extra year; he is an average player but would be another "banger." Neltner, the 2003 Mr. Basketball in Kentucky, has enough weight (225 lbs) to contribute. Tim Bush is a "wide body" at 260 lbs, but played very little as a freshman. Lazare might best be red-shirted if he doesn't have to be used.

(2) Height? There is no one over 6-8 and the Tigers might have problems with outstanding tall players.

(3) Experience? Hudson, Lloreda, Mitchell, and backup Charlie Thompson have most of it.

Overall Prospects for 2003-04

Coach John Brady did a good job to get the Tigers (21-11 and 8-8 in conference action) to the NCAA last season, where they were thrashed by Purdue in the opening round. He has a somewhat less experienced team this year, but has done a great job of recruiting new talent. Look for LSU to edge out Arkansas for third place in the Western Division and go back to the NCAA.


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