This afternoon, five star shooting guard Antonio Blakeney committed to the LSU Tigers over the likes of the Kentucky Wildcats and Missouri Tigers (see here for previous highlights and interview). Blakeney was previously committed to the University of Louisville before re-opening his recruitment. Prior to Blakeney's signing, LSU's recruiting class was ranked 60th overall, and 11th in the SEC. Blakeney's commitment is a big win for Johnny Jones and his staff as they continue to put together pieces for a great class. Recruiting is a lot about momentum, and Jones now has more ammo to close out a class that could finish in the Top 30.
The momentum that helped garner the commitment of Blakeney maybe began a few months ago when LSU signed the best player in the 2015, Ben Simmons. Basketball scribe Mike Decourcy has gone on the record saying that Simmons reminds him of Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. He's nearly 7 feet tall, can dribble, pass, and make the outside shot. He also does things like this:
Another target LSU is making a push for his Brandon Sampson. Sampson is a four star shooting guard from Baton Rouge who is Louisiana's best prospect in this class. He has interest from major programs, but the Crystal Ball projects he'll sign with LSU. The odds are good that LSU will have a serious injection of talent on their basketball team next fall.
LSU has gone a respectable 39-26 since Johnny Jones took over two seasons ago, but these commitments are likely his biggest successes yet. They'll compliment the players that will presumably return to LSU next season. LSU only has two seniors this season, and most of their leading scorers are underclassmen. A front court of Jarrell Martin, Jordan Mickey, and Ben Simmons next season will be a force; especially if Blakeney and Keith Hornsby are knocking down shots from the perimeter when they draw double-teams.
The LSU basketball program has an esteemed history with individuals like Shaquille O'Neal, Pete Maravich, Chris Jackson, Marcus Thornton, and Dale Brown to name but a few. It's looking like adding to that legacy will occur sooner rather than later. LSU has an opportunity to make The Big Dance this season, but if this signing class sticks together, and none of LSU's currently players leave early, they have the makings of a team that could make a serious run in March 2016.