Last season: 18-15, lost in second round of NIT
Coach: Will Wade
Who’s gone: G Brandon Sampson (turned pro), G Randy Onwuasor, PF Duop Reath, F Wayde Sims (deceased), F Aaron Epps, F Jeremy Combs, F Mayan Kiir (transferred to USF).
Who’s back: PG Tremont Waters averaged 15.9 points, 6 assists and 2 steals; G Skylar Mays averaged 11.3 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists; G Daryl Edwards averaged 6.8 points as an intermittent starter; G Marshall Graves averaged 5.1 minutes of playing time in 14 games.
Who’s new: F Naz Reid, a five-star prospect from Asbury Park, New Jersey; F Emmitt Williams, a five-star prospect from Fort Myers, Florida; F Kavell Bigby-Williams sat out last season after transferring from Oregon; G Ja’vonte Smart, a four-star prospect named the top high school player in Louisiana last season; F Courtese Cooper is a junior college transfer from Triton; F Darius Days, a four-star prospect from Raleigh, Florida; F Aundre Hyatt, a Rivals’ Top 100 player from New York; G Danya Kingsby, a junior college transfer from Southern Idaho; G Marlon Taylor, a junior college transfer from Panola College; G Will Reese, a former LSU baseball player.
The Skinny: The Tigers return their most dynamic player from last season in Waters as well as one of their more reliable and productive back court players in Mays. By adding two five-star recruits, along with the top prospect from Louisiana and an experienced front-court transfer from another major program, Wade has built a team that enters the season ranking No. 23 in the Top 25 poll, and with high hopes of making waves in the SEC and NCAA Tournament. The Tigers will start the season mourning the death of Sims, who was shot and killed late last month.
Expectations: Las Vegas odds makers have LSU at 100-1 to win the NCAA Tournament.