LSU standout center Jordan Mickey will not be a one and done.
He’s coming back to Baton Rouge for a second collegiate season.
Mickey announced this week that he is going to bypass NBA temptations and return to LSU for his sophomore season.
The lanky 6-foot, 8-inch, 220-pound power forward averaged 12.7 points, 7.9 rebounds and 3.1 blocks per game as a true freshman – marks that made him among the top freshmen in the country.
NBA Draft projections had Mickey being selected in the early-to-mid second round of June’s draft.
“I thank LSU for giving me this opportunity to come here and have a good (freshman) season, and to be a part of this school and this family,” Mickey said at his press conference. “As far as next year, I’ve decided that I will come back and play my sophomore year of basketball at LSU and try and help my team win.”
Mickey’s decision is a huge boost to the Tigers’ chances in the 2014-15 season.
Mickey was the SEC Freshman of the Week three times as a freshman – a terror both offensively and defensively for LSU.
A native of Dallas, Texas, Mickey scored in double figures in 26 of his 34 games, including nine double-doubles. He became just the second player in the history of LSU’s program to block 100-plus shots in a season, as well, joining LSU great Shaquille O’Neal.
Mickey said he strongly considered the professional ranks after receiving early information that he could be a lottery pick in the first round of the draft.
But the Tigers’ post player said that after meeting with Tigers’ coach Johnny Jones, he learned that his stock was a little bit lower than he thought. From there, Mickey said he opted to return to school to continue to better his skills.
“Of course, it’s a tough decision determining whether you’re going to the NBA or whether you’re coming back,” Mickey said. “Just basically, coming back was the best thing for me to help me continue to improve my game. I just want to be able to come back and try and help my team win some more games next year.”
Mickey said in his sophomore season, he wants to get bigger, faster and stronger so that he can become a more attractive commodity to scouts in his next go-round. The Tigers’ standout added that he’s been a bit overwhelmed by the entire process, adding that he never considered himself to be a “one and done” candidate when he signed with LSU.
“I need to continue to get bigger, stronger and faster,” Mickey said. “I need to continue to improve on my skill set. That’s basically what (scouts) told me. … There are always things you can improve on. Everything can be improved upon, so there’s no one specific area. I just want to try to continue to grow as a basketball player and get better.”
For LSU, Mickey’s return is a huge bonus for a team that is hungry to reach the NCAA Tournament next year.
With Mickey on board, the Tigers will now return several of their top performers from last season, including Anthony Hickey, Malik Morgan, Tim Quarterman, Jarell Martin, John Odo and Shane Hammink.
The Tigers also have talented newcomers entering the program next season, including junior college point guard Josh Gray and 7-foot, four-star center Elbert Robinson.
Transfer guard Keith Hornsby will make his LSU debut in 2014-15 after sitting out last season following a transfer from UNC-Asheville.
The above-listed players will offset the loss of seniors Shavon Coleman and Andre Stringer and junior Johnny O’Bryant III, who opted to forego his senior season a month ago.
Mickey said he thinks that the Tigers have everything it takes to make a run at the SEC Championship next year – one of the reasons why he opted to return to school.
LSU finished with a 20-win season in 2013-14, reaching the Second Round of the NIT.
“I feel like we can be an extremely good team – an NCAA Tournament qualifying team,” Mickey said. “Definitely with the pieces coming back and guys we have coming in, I’m confident in my team that we can go pretty far next year.”
The Tigers’ soon-to-be- third-year coach said that with Mickey back, LSU will have an NBA-caliber post player manning the paint next season.
The coach added that Mickey has been a pleasure to coach and he’s thrilled to have him back for another year.
“I can’t tell you how excited we are with the news that Jordan will be a part of our basketball program next year,” Jones said. “I think all of you guys realize the impact that he made on our basketball team this year as a freshman. From the defensive end where he was an all-leaguer there, second-team All-SEC. He was a player who led our team in field goal percentage, rebounding and just the impact that he made and what we look forward to next year in what he has an opportunity to bring to our team.”
LSU freshman forward Jordan Mickey glides through the air in an attempt to block a shot during a game this season. The dominant Tigers’ standout has opted to return to school for his sophomore season. He did so despite gathering information that he could potentially be selected in the back-half of this June’s 2014 NBA Draft. Mickey said his goal is to lead LSU to the NCAA Tournament.