Article Courtesy of: Sports Illustrated
By: Glen West
The months long wait on knowing what the 2020 LSU basketball roster will look like finally came to fruition on Monday. After declaring for the NBA Draft in the spring, underclassmen Darius Days, Trendon Watford and Javonte Smart’s intentions were finally answered.
It was a good day for the Tigers as all three veterans will return to the LSU program for the 2020 season.
Days was the first player whose intentions to return to school were revealed by a report
from CBS Sports Jon Rothstein.
The return of Days is significant news indeed as it gives the Tigers an experienced floor spacer with his shooting ability. Days’ career numbers don’t reflect the kind of ability he has on the perimeter, which is something Will Wade has talked about this offseason.
The junior shot 38% from deep as a freshman but just 29.5% as a sophomore in a larger role. It’ll be important for Days to show consistency with his shot in big minutes on the floor.
It’ll be equally important for him to stay out of foul trouble as that’s been his Achilles heel during his first two seasons in Baton Rouge. An aggressive player on the offensive and defensive glass, at times, Days becomes his own worst enemy.
Smart also returns for a highly anticipated junior season. As a sophomore and first time starter at point guard, Smart was one of the SEC leaders in assist to turnover ratio while, averaging 12.5 points and 4.2 assists.
Wade said back in May how much the team would benefit from his return to pair him with young guards like Cam Thomas, Eric Gaines and Jalen Cook.
“We're hopeful that he'll be back and really position himself to be the premier point guard in the SEC and one of the premier point guards nationally," Wade said of Smart back in May. "He's a big guard who can get in that paint and finish, make floaters, make pull ups and distribute the ball. He's at his best when he's doing that, and I've got to do a better job of helping him get downhill and getting in the paint and shooting more shots in the paint, if he does if he does come back."
The one who was most on the fence about a return was Watford, who received some NBA Draft buzz. Just after 3 p.m. it was reported that the Birmingham, Alabama native would be returning to Baton Rouge for his sophomore season. Watford later took to social media to express his feelings on returning.
Watford, along with teammate Skylar Mays were invited to the draft combine but there is still no date set for the event. As a freshman, Watford averaged 13.6 points and 7.2 rebounds for the Tigers, earning an All-SEC freshman team selection. His return will be of vital importance as a post presence on offense and rebounding ability.
In an interview with ESPN 104.5, Wade talked about the upcoming season after the decisions by Watford, Smart and Days were made final. Wade talked about the possibility of a bubble format and that one option being discussed is a move to Houston or Dallas for non-conference games.
"We're going to have some form of a season. Worst case maybe we'll start after Thanksgiving when all the students leave campus and we can create a bubble," Wade said on After Further Review. "May have to go to bubble and play non-con games in Houston or Dallas."
As for what the fall will look like for the team, Wade said on a conference call a few weeks back that he expects the team to start ramping things up at the first part of August.
"We're just trying to do it in manageable chunks so we can keep things up and running. Our guys have been great so far, following all of the protocols,” Wade said.
"We've really taken a approach of when you feel comfortable and when you feel like things are safe that you can come at that time. There's a lot of different factors that go into when certain guys plan on coming back."
Look at LSU basketball depth chart
PG: Javonte Smart, Jalen Cook
SG: Cam Thomas, Charles Manning, Eric Gaines, Aundre Hyatt
SF: Josh Leblanc, Mwani Wilkinson
PF: Trendon Watford, Darius Days, Shareef O’Neal
C: Bryan Penn-Johnson , Josh Gray (commit)
Courtesy of: Sports Illustrated
By: Glen West