LSU coach Johnny Jones has signed four prospects in the two and a half months since he accepted his dream job. He may not be done just yet.
During the Southeastern Conference’s summer teleconference Monday, Jones said the Tigers would still like to find some help in the post before the fall semester arrives.
“We’re hoping that we can beef up inside,” Jones said. “We have to make sure, especially playing in this league, that we are anchored by someone inside. We look forward to hopefully having a couple of late signees and maybe one that will help us answer those questions.”
Star center Justin Hamilton left school after leading LSU in scoring, rebounding and blocked shots as a junior. Fellow post players Malcolm White and Storm Warren both graduated.
Of the five recruits LSU has signed thus far, only 6-foot-8 junior-college prospect Calvin Godfrey is expected to spend most of the time with his back to the basket.
LSU’s other signees are 6-5 guard Shane Hammink, 6-6 forward Shavon Coleman, 6-3 guard Malik Morgan and 6-3 point guard Corban Collins.
Morgan signed with former LSU coach Trent Johnson last fall. The other four have signed with the Tigers since Jones took over the program in April.
Three teams head overseas
As the LSU basketball team bounced back from consecutive 20-loss seasons last year, coach Johnson credited a trip to Italy in the spring of 2011 as one reason for the team’s improvement.
LSU went 6-0 against Italian opposition in the first trip for the program overseas since the John Brady era.
SEC rivals Georgia, Tennessee and Arkansas hope to have a similar experience this summer after missing the NCAA tournament last year.
All three teams will be in Italy to play basketball and see the sights.
“The one thing about going to Europe where there’s not a lot of English being spoken, it really forces your team to come together and stay close,” Florida coach Billy Donovan said. “You can get a head start on developing relationships within your team.”
College teams are allowed to participate in international preseason trips every four years.
Worth the wait
Alabama signed only one prospect in its most recent recruiting class, but it’s unlikely Crimson Tide fans are disappointed about the results.
That’s because the one player Anthony Grant nabbed was one of the biggest recruits in the South.
Kemper County (Miss.) High forward Devonta Pollard signed June 1 with Alabama, picking the Crimson Tide over Georgetown, Missouri, LSU and Texas. The winner of Mississippi’s Mr. Basketball award was listed as the No. 22 prospect in the nation by Rivals.com.
“Devonta is someone we have recruited for quite a while,” said Grant, entering his fourth season as the Alabama coach. “He’s probably one of the first young men we started to recruit when I arrived. We felt like we had put a significant amount of time into his recruiting and felt like the guys on our staff had done a really good job of building a relationship. We’re glad it worked out.”
LSU got in the mix for Pollard after former Mississippi State and Georgetown assistant Robert Kirby joined Jones in Baton Rouge.
Arkansas coach Mike Anderson helped build Missouri into a national contender before leaving in March 2011 to take over at the school where he spent 17 seasons as an assistant under Nolan Richardson. He can look forward to playing his former team twice thanks to the pairing of Missouri and Arkansas as permanent rivals under the SEC’s new scheduling format.
“It’s going to be another conference game,” Anderson said. “It just got a little more interesting because me and my staff coached there, and we still have some players over there as well.”
With the addition of Missouri and Texas A&M this fall, the SEC adopted a new scheduling format June 1 at the SEC Spring Meetings in Destin, Fla. The new format has each team playing an 18-game schedule that includes a permanent opponent home and away, four rotating opponents home and away, and the other eight teams in the conference one time home or away.
Anderson went 111-57 in five seasons at Mizzou, making the Elite Eight in 2009.