Signing day for LSU was quiet and planned.
And that’s probably the best outcome, too.
The Tigers’ racked up a flurry of commitments several months ago, and saw three of their commitments sign letters of intent Wednesday during the early signing period and fill the available slots in this year’s class.
The first series of formal pledged came in around 1 p.m. with the documents from Tioga forward Aaron Epps and Montverde (Fla.) point guard Jalyn Patterson. It was followed a little over 90 minutes later by the paperwork from Lakeview Centennial (Texas) center Elbert Robinson.
No, this class isn’t likely to land in the top 25 rankings assembled by recruitniks, but it did what it needed to do for coach Johnny Jones next season.
In Robinson, the Tigers locked up a replacement for the low block in the event that All-Southeastern Conference forward Johnny O’Bryant III bolts for the NBA draft. The 7-foot, 320-pound prospect, who averages to 14.0 points and 12.5 rebounds, is among the largest players in the upper tier of prospects. And he is hard to dislodge off the block and possesses soft but strong hands once the ball is dumped down low.
“With his height and strength, he will certainly make an impact for us in the paint for us on both ends of the floor, offensively and defensively,” Jones said in a statement as the Tigers took Wednesday off. “He has a great knack for scoring around the basket. He is also a sound passer for a big man and can really defend the paint area.”
Yet Robinson, who chose LSU over Ohio State and Georgetown, Texas A&M, Georgia Tech and Nebraska, will have to work on slimming down and adjusting to the speed of the college game.
Recruiting services have noted it’s hard to find his combination of size, hands and nimble feet, but the conditioning and acclimating process could mean Robinson will stay in the fold a couple of years in Baton Rouge to pair with current freshman Jordan Mickey and Ben Simmons, the No. 5 overall prospect in the 2015 recruiting class committed to LSU.
Patterson, a 5-11, 175-pound native of Alpharetta, Ga., is a prime plug-and-play replacement for senior guard Andre Stringer. The three-star prospect played for the Atlanta Celtics AAU program, which was formerly helmed by current LSU assistant coach Korey McCray, and is also the teammate and close friend of Simmons.
Then there’s Epps, a 6-9, 215-pound forward that might be the first recruit from Tioga to land at LSU.
Scouting services reported Epps’ status as a regional recruit changed after a junior season in which he put up 18 points, 12 rebounds and six blocks. A summer on the AAU circuit upped his profile with SEC programs, too.
“Aaron Epps has the length and ability to play a variety of positions for us,” Jones said. “With his ability to shoot the ball from outside and the way that he runs the floor, along with his shot-blocking and rebounding skills, he will certainly be a great addition to our front line.”
In recent months, Jones has reiterated the Tigers were hunting for three commitments to fill out the early signing period.
Between late August and September, the Tigers achieved that objective.
And the only noise on signing day was the thrum of warm faxes rolling off.
Lady Tigers sign Deemer
The LSU women picked up just one signature on the first day of the early signing period, landing Ursuline Academy guard Jenna Deemer.
A 5-7 guard, Deemer is a three-time Class 4A All-State performer, averaging 21.2 points per game last season, 21.7 as a sophomore and 17.3 as a freshman. She is also an honor roll student.
“Jenna is a player who is very competitive, understands the game and has a high basketball IQ,” LSU coach Nikki Caldwell said, according to a university news release. “Her versatility is going to blend in well with what we are trying to accomplish here.
“We are very grateful to have another young lady from the state of Louisiana join our program. It is very important to be able to showcase our talented local players.”