The LSU Tigers may be losing future lofty NBA Draft selection Ben Simmons, but fellow highly touted recruit Antonio Blakeney is returning to Baton Rouge for his sophomore season. The Sarasota, Florida native who trailed only Simmons in the Florida recruiting rankings had the option of going pro, but will instead head back to LSU to refine his game.
The news shouldn't come as much of a surprise, although no one would certainly blame the Oak Ridge High School alum for chasing the almighty dollar if that was what he intended to do. While averaging 30.8 minutes this past season, Blakeney amassed 12.6 points and 3.4 rebounds per game on a mark of 42.5 percent from the field and 33.5 percent from the 3-point line. Development and improvement could be in the works for Blakeney and given a player of his caliber, the sky's the limit for the 6-foot-4 rising sophomore.
The athletics program officially announced Blakeney's decision on their Twitter account Tuesday:
Antonio Blakeney will not put his name in the draft and has decided to return for his sophomore season. https://t.co/2qPBqS8p9o— LSU Basketball (@LSUBasketball) April 19, 2016
How will this impact LSU going forward? Well, for starters, they will retain Blakeney's services as well as Brandon fellow sophomore guard Brandon Sampson. Joining them for next season will be Tim Quarterman, Jalyn Patterson and incoming recruit Skylar Mays who signed his LOI recently. There's also verbal commit Kieran Hayward, a talented hooper from Sydney, Australia as well as Branden Jenkins, a JUCO player who will see action this year after sitting out last season due to transfer rules.
So the Tigers would have had a bevy of talented guards at their disposal with or without Blakeney's presence and his retention certainly does not hurt.