When new LSU coach Matt McMahon took the job last spring, the task set before him was a daunting one.
Following the firing of coach Will Wade, the Tigers saw a mass exodus of talent from the basketball program as players flocked to the transfer portal or NBA draft. McMahon managed to keep a couple of those guys around, and he made up for the losses with a fantastic recruiting and transfer class.
The transfers, specifically, are set to make a major impact in McMahon’s first season in Baton Rouge, and one of them was named among the top 25 transfers to watch in college basketball in 2022-23.
KJ Williams, a fifth-year forward who followed McMahon from his previous post at Murray State, came in at No. 9 in the transfer rankings from On3. Williams saw significant action in each of his four seasons with the Racers, and he spent the last two seasons as a full-time starter.
He’s coming off his best season yet. In 2021-22, Williams averaged 18 points and 8.4 rebounds per game. It was the third straight season that Williams averaged in double-figures scoring with the Racers. He was named the Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year last season and is a three-time First Team All-OVC selection.
He was considered one of the top transfer portal options available this offseason, and he ultimately made the decision to join his head coach in the SEC. The 6-foot-10 forward — who is originally from Cleveland, Mississippi — is one of three transfers LSU landed from Murray State, alongside Trae Hannibal and Justice Hill.
The Tigers are coming off a first-round NCAA Tournament exit in Wade’s final season (though he didn’t coach in the tournament). It’s hard to know what to expect from this new-look roster, but players like Williams raise the ceiling considerably.
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