Basketball season is among us for those of you who can take your mind off football for a moment. The LSU Tigers began practice October 15th with a new mindset and a new cast of players set to forget the struggles of a year ago. Head Coach Trent Johnson has seen the best and worst in his first two years in Baton Rouge. From SEC Champions to the SEC cellar, year three looks to be a new beginning for the basketball program.
LSU welcomes in five new players to a team that won two league games a year ago. Obviously the help is needed. The five new-comers are junior Malcom White, a transfer from Ole Miss who sat out last season, and four freshman from the 2010 class—Matt Derenbecker, Jalen Courtney, Ralston Turner, and Andre Stringer. White will be counted on to start at one of the forward positions and all four freshman will more than likely challenge for a starting spot or play significant minutes off the bench this season.
The one hold over from last year’s team that will be in the starting lineup is junior forward Storm Warren. Warren’s transformation from year one to year two was remarkable. Warren became the go to guy last year and provides tough hard-nosed play around the basket. The two backup forwards with be Garrett Green and Eddie Ludwig, both of whom gained plenty of experience a year ago. Rounding out the roster are guards Chris Bass and Darren Populist and wing players Aaron Dotson and Dennis Harris.
Coach Johnson won’t have the luxury of veteran senior leadership this year, but what he does have is a solid nucleus to build upon. LSU may not challenge for an SEC championship this year, but the foundation is set for the foreseeable future. Reports out of practice have been good and Coach Johnson has been working the players hard to get them ready for the tough grind in the SEC. After experiencing one of the toughest seasons as a coach last year, Johnson knows he doesn’t want to go down that road again. The players have to buy into that as well and, if so, the program is in good hands Tiger fans.