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College Basketball Impact Freshmen: LSU

With the college basketball season still four months away, here’s a look at the potential impact freshmen for each team. We’ll take a look at each team that had a top 25 recruiting ranking. Recruiting rankings are based on the 247Sports Composite which calculates the average of all four major recruiting websites (247Sports, Rivals, ESPN and Scout.)

LSU Tigers

2014-15 Record: 22-11 (11-7 in SEC) Round of 64 loss 

2015 Team Ranking

National Rank: 3

SEC Rank: 2

Class Breakdown

5-star: 2

4-star: 1

3-star: 0

Top Incoming Recruits

  • Small Forward Ben Simmons, 5-star, Montverde Academy (Montverde, FL), 6-8, 220 lbs, No. 1 Small Forward, No. 1 overall
  • Shooting Guard Antonio Blakeney, 5-star, Oak Ridge (Orlando, Florida), 6-4, 170 lbs, No. 2 Shooting Guard, No. 15 overall
  • Shooting Guard Brandon Sampson, 4-star, Madison Prep Academy (Baton Rouge, LA) 6-4, 180 lbs, No.14 Shooting Guard, No.52 overall

 Class Overview

LSU’s ranking this year resembles more of their football style recruiting than basketball over the last couple of years. However, this is an incredibly strong class with arguably the best player coming down to Baton Rouge. Ben Simmons is one of the most versatile players in the country, with his ability to play four positions, similar to LeBron (note: he’s not LeBron, just versatility wise). Simmons should contend for National Player of the Year despite being just a freshman – many scouts believe he’s already ready for the NBA and would be successful in the League now. Expect to see Simmons play a point forward type role for the Tigers, with his ability to distribute and see over opposing players due to his size.

Joining his AAU teammate on the Bayou is Antonio Blakeney, who originally committed to Louisville. He was ranked as a top-20 recruit from the get go, before finishing at No. 15. Blakeney is one of the best all-around guards in the class, especially when it comes to scoring. He uses a combination of his athleticism to finish at the rim as well as a deadly jumper to pull his defenders away from the basket. Look for him and Simmons to have chemistry from the first game and try to push the tempo whenever they can.

The final piece of the Killer B’s recruiting is Brandon Sampson, who has been labeled a program-changer by Adam Zagoria, despite being ranked No. 52 overall. Sampson is crazy athletic, with the ability to finish at the rim over well-known shotblockers. He’ll play off the ball as dribbling is something he needs to work on, but can play the two or three position with his fellow classmates joining him in the backcourt. Sampson has shown incredible range, but is a streaky shooter, so there will be games with an ugly stat line.

Overall this is the type of class Johnny Jones needed to buy him some time off the hot seat at LSU. However, he’ll likely only have one year with Ben Simmons, so this team needs to make a run this year otherwise Jones could be let go.

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