LSU freshman forward Jarell Martin said Monday he will be return for his sophomore season.
“I have been thinking about it,” he said. “I decided I will come back next year.”
The Baton Rouge native and former McDonald’s All-American said he reached the decision with relative ease after a debut campaign when he averaged 10.8 points and 4.4 rebounds, landing on the SEC’s All-Freshman team last week. And he bounced back from a slow nonconference season, when a high-ankle sprain suffered 33 seconds into the season opener hampered him.
He averaged just 8.0 points ahead of SEC play, a stat he raised to 11.5 in league play, which included two games where he scored a career-high 20 points.
“Sitting out at the beginning of the season, I had a lot of pressure and expectations on me,” Martin said. “I wasn’t really focused, wasn’t really mentally prepared going into some games.”
Martin is the first of a trio of Tigers to declare his intentions as it pertains to the NBA. Forward Johnny O’Bryant III said he again will weigh his options after his junior season ends.
After Friday’s loss to Kentucky in the SEC tournament quarterfinals, freshman forward Jordan Mickey said he, too, will wait until the season concludes before exploring his options or seeking an evaluation from the NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee.
LSU opens play in the NIT at 9 p.m. Wednesday at San Francisco.
The news was, well, news to LSU coach Johnny Jones.
“That would be exciting news,” he said of Martin’s comments. “That’s not something I really want him thinking about. But I can’t really come in and hold you guys up from asking about it.”
Martin seemed somewhat certain of his choice.
“Now I have my confidence back,” he said. “I know there are things I need to go out and work on with my game, from ballhandling to my shooting ability.”