By: Michael Lanclos
Da Boot Sports!
The LSU Mens basketball team was cut short on the NCAA tournament bid thanks to the Covid pandemic. Most of the team's around the country were getting ready for the big stage, now everyone is ready and eager for a fresh start as the new season is set to begin unlike any other season. There was some valuable games scheduled that will change with some of the non-conference games. There are many things that the team needs to do to improve on along with some changes that will be noticed.
Coach Will Wade states: "I think part of having a good defense is having a some defense minded guys, Charles Manning Jr.is somebody who is coming back is also defensive minded. Jalen Cook may be the best on ball defender."
Coach Wade also mentioned how Junior Javonte Smart is getting better defensively, also sophomore Trendon Watford is improving on the way he talks and communicates on the basketball court. Junior Darius Days looks to be in great basketball shape and improved more on his defense. Also Sophomore Bryan Penn-Johnson is helping the team on the rim side on the game. Coach Wade feels that this year there is more defensive pieces that will improve the team.
The team should be able to do a better job of protecting the paint better than what they done in previous seasons. At the same time this should cause the team to be able to move and react which should be a plus when it comes to defense and also benefit to help the team to be able to score some points also.
"We got other guys that can come in, if you are not doing your job, if you miss two many assignments in a row, we chart missed assignments everyday in practice and not doing what you are suppose to do defensively then we got someone else that can come in and replace you and do just as good a job," stated by Coach Wade.
Coach Wade spoke about how competitive his squad and that the depth is better this year than what he has had before. Some of the guys are ahead of others while some of the guys are real close to being where they need to be. Trendon Watford has improved also on his leadership skills, talking a bit more, doing more things that leaders generally do. He expects this years club to be in the top 5 in offensive rebounding overall which will be huge for the team. The team should be faster along with transitioning to the ball better than in the past also. This years team shows they are a very versatility type of team also, this can cause opponents to have some trouble to guard.
With the type of team Coach Wade has it helps because they are prepared to compete with the various styles that they can show which can be difficult to play offense or defense against. Sophomore transfer Shareef O'Neal has shown a lot so far in practice and is awaiting to see if he can get the waiver that was sent in. He has shown that he's got a lot of abilities that will have an impact on the team. Th team seems to be more family oriented, close nit and enjoys being around one another.
This club has shown Coach Wade that they want to improve by asking questions, watching film and doing what it take to get corrected . There seems to be more quality among the guys, this is important because on the court quality points and minutes is valuably needed. Sophomore Aundre Hyatt is one player who has made huge improvements from the previous season and should be a difference maker this season. There is a lot of ways that the team has shown how they are very competitive against one another, this has made the team improve as a whole.
SEC play this season should possibly crank up in late December verses in January, that will be a change for all teams involved. Coach Wade is also preparing for the Covid testing that will be coming and being ready to play who is negative and hoping for the best like many of the other coaches around the league. Quarantining the guys who test positive will be something different and will be a task while the other guys are practicing or playing a game.
The team is poised to make a run and hoping to make post season play. There is good depth on the team which will help the team go further and the team will develop over the next few months. There are some experienced veterans returning and newcomers that are eager to show the Tiger nation what the team is capable of doing. The schedule this season should be ready in the next few days hopefully.
Photos By: LSUsports.net