A mere five days after signing of Scotlandville’s Brian Bridgewater, junior center Jalen Courtney was granted a release to transfer and leave the Tigers program, the school announced Monday.
Inking Bridgewater, a three-star recruit, last week meant coach Johnny Jones’ team would have been one player over the NCAA-mandated 13 scholarships, meaning LSU either had to have a player depart or move into a walk-on role.
The departure of Courtney, whose possible destinations weren’t disclosed, removes intrigue surrounding who might be staying or departing Baton Rouge.
The evidence hinted in the past week that the Jackson, Miss., native might leave the ranks, considering LSU’s seven-player recruiting class — which was rated between No. 7 and No. 10 nationally — tilted heavily toward the front court with prospects listed as either a forward or center.
In addition, Courtney, who averaged 2.1 points and 2.1 rebounds per game, struggled to break into the line-up that was threadbare in its low post rotation. Appearing in 26 games, he never earned a start in playing just 8.7 minutes per game, and was passed up by former walk-on Andrew Del Piero on a roster with only two players taller than 6-foot-8 this season.
Courtney, who signed as a three-star prospect out of Provine High School, played in 51 career games, and scored a career-high 14 points against Grambling in Dec. 2011.
Even if Courtney’s minutes weren’t heavy, it means LSU loses four upperclassmen for next season. The Tigers will have eight underclassmen, including five freshmen, on the roster next season, with only sophomore guards Malik Morgan and Corban Collins having seen extensive minutes.
LSU does return starting guards in junior Anthony Hicky and senior Andre Stringer, along with junior forward and All-SEC pick Johnny O’Bryant III. In addition, senior small forward Shavon Coleman returns to the fold, but sifting out a rotation becomes more imperative early next season.