Wade entering an improving SEC

Bryan Lazare, TigerBait.com Senior Writer
Tiger Bait

The spring signing period for basketball begins Wednesday.

Tuesday night was an eventful one for new LSU coach Will Wade, who lost one player and gained one player. Antonio Blakeney announced that he is declaring for the NBA draft. Meanwhile, Mayan Kiir committed to the Tigers. Kiir is expected to sign with LSU on Wednesday.

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Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

In his statement on twitter, Blakeney did not indicate whether he is signing with an agent. However, his words certainly sound as if his college career is over. Kiir signed with VCU last November when Wade was its coach. After Wade left for LSU, Kiir asked for and received a release from VCU.

Former Tigers coach Johnny Jones had signed two in-state high school players last November – wings Brandon Rachal from Natchitoches Central and Galen Alexander from Lafayette Christian. Both Rachal and Alexander intend to enroll at LSU under Wade. There is still one available scholarship for Wade.

Wade is taking over a LSU program which seems to be at the bottom of an improving SEC. LSU and Missouri tied for last place in 2017. However, Missouri’s signing class is ranked No. 16 in the nation. Missouri is bringing in Michael Porter, who is the top-rated player in the country.

Players have until Apr. 23 to put their names into the NBA draft. If an individual does not sign with an agent, he can opt to return to school by May 24. The NBA draft is scheduled for June 22.

Presently, just five SEC players other than Blakeney have declared for the NBA draft. Two of those players will not sign with an agent – Kentucky’s Bam Adabayo and Florida’s Devin Robinson. Three Kentucky players will definitely not return – Isaiah Briscoe, De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk.

Three SEC teams reached the Elite 8 last month – Florida, Kentucky and South Carolina. The Gamecocks defeated Florida to reach the Final Four. Arkansas and Vanderbilt also reached the NCAA tournament. Ole Miss advanced to the quarterfinals of the NIT.

While there may still be some players deciding to leave, it appears that the SEC will be a veteran league in 2018. All but four of the teams will return at least four players who averaged at least 20 minutes per game this past season.

One of those four teams is Kentucky, which has the No. 1 recruiting class in the country with six players ranked among the top 80. Moreover, the Wildcats are bringing in five of the top 35 players in the nation.

Five of the SEC’s 14 teams have recruiting classes ranked in the top 30 – Kentucky at No. 1, Alabama at No. 4, Auburn at No. 19, Texas A&M at No. 20 and Arkansas at No. 29. Tennessee is the lone school which has no top-150 player among its list of newcomers.

Alabama and Texas A&M are two teams who should make huge jumps in the SEC standings in 2018. Kentucky and Florida will again be near the top of the conference.

Listed below are the returning SEC players who averaged at least 20 minutes per game last season. Also, the top-150 players who are heading for SEC schools are listed.

ALABAMA

2017 record: 19-15, overall; 10-8, SEC

Returnees

Braxton Key, 6-8, So., 30 minutes, 12.0 points, 5.7 rebounds, 43% FG shooting

Dazon Ingram, 6-5, So., 28 minutes, 10.6 points, 4.5 rebounds, 52% FG shooting

Riley Norris, 6-7, Sr., 27 minutes, 9.0 points, 3.8 rebounds, 41% FG shooting

Donta Hall, 6-9, Jr., 20 minutes, 6.0 points, 5.5 rebounds, 66% FG shooting

Recruits (No. 4 class in the country)

Collin Sexton, 6-1, Mableton (Ga.), No. 7 player in the country

John Petty, 6-5, Huntsville, No. 28 player in the country

Herb Jones, 6-7, Moundville, No. 71 player in the country

Alex Reese, 6-9, Pelham, No. 89 player in the country

ARKANSAS

2017 record: 26-10, overall; 12-6, SEC

Jaylen Barford, 6-3, Sr., 25 minutes, 12.8 points, 3.8 rebounds, 44% FG shooting

Daryl Macon, 6-3, Sr., 25 minutes, 13.4 points, 2.6 rebounds, 45% FG shooting

Anton Beard, 6-0, Sr., 21 minutes, 7.2 points, 2.1 rebounds, 40% FG shooting

Recruits (No. 29 class in the country)

Daniel Gafford, 6-10, El Dorado, No. 30 player in the country

Khalil Garland, 6-4, Little Rock, No. 146 player in the country

AUBURN

2017 record: 18-13, overall; 7-11, SEC

Mustapha Heron, 6-5, So., 28 minutes, 15.2 points, 5.8 rebounds, 44% FG shooting

Danjel Purifoy, 6-7, So., 28 minutes, 11.4 points, 4.8 rebounds, 40% FG shooting

Jared Harper, 5-10, So., 24 minutes, 11.5 points, 2.8 assists, 39% FG shooting

Bryce Brown, 6-3, Jr., 21 minutes, 7.3 points, 1.9 rebounds, 35% FG shooting

Recruits (No. 19 class in the country)

Chuma Okeke, 6-7, Atlanta (Ga.), No. 40 player in the country

Davion Mitchell, 6-1, Hinesville (Ga.), No. 56 player in the country

FLORIDA

2017 record: 27-9, overall; 14-4, SEC

*Devin Robinson, 6-8, Sr., 26 minutes, 11.1 points, 6.1 rebounds, 48% FG shooting

KeVaughn Allen, 6-2, Jr., 29 minutes, 14.0 points, 2.4 rebounds, 44% FG shooting

John Egbunu, 6-11, Sr., 22 minutes, 7.8 points, 6.6 rebounds, 49% FG shooting

Chris Chiozza, 6-0, Sr., 22 minutes, 7.2 points, 3.8 assists, 41% FG shooting

*Declared for NBA draft, but did not hire an agent

Recruits

DeAundre Ballard, 6-6, Atlanta (Ga.), No. 133 player in the country

Isaiah Stokes, 6-8, Bradenton, No. 144 player in the country

GEORGIA

2017 record: 19-15, overall; 9-9, SEC

Yante Maten, 6-8, Sr., 29 minutes, 18.2 points, 6.8 rebounds, 52% FG shooting

Derek Ogbeide, 6-8, Jr., 7.1 points, 7.6 rebounds, 57% FG shooting

Juwan Parker, 6-4, Sr., 9.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, 38% FG shooting

Recruits

Royshaun Hammonds, 6-8, Norcross, No. 48 player in the country

KENTUCKY

2017 record: 32-6, overall; 16-2, SEC

*Bam Adebayo, 6-10, So., 30 minutes, 13.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 60% FG shooting

*Declared for NBA draft, but did not hire an agent

Recruits (No. 1 class in the country)

P. J. Washington, 6-7, Henderson (Nev.), No. 11 player in the country

Nick Richards, 6-11, Elizabeth (N.J.), No. 16 player in the country

Jarred Vanderbilt, 6-8, Houston (Tex.), No. 21 player in the country

Quade Green, 6-0, Philadelphia (Pa.), No. 23 player in the country

Shai Alexander, 6-5, Chattanooga (Tenn.), No. 32 player in the country

Jemarl Baker, 6-3, Corona (Cal.), No. 80 player in the country

LSU

2017 record: 10-21, overall; 2-16, SEC

Duop Reath, 6-10, Sr., 28 minutes, 12.0 points, 6.2 rebounds, 51% FG shooting

Brandon Sampson, 6-5, Jr., 28 minutes, 11.6 points, 3.1 rebounds, 48% FG shooting

Skylar Mays, 6-4, So., 23 minutes, 8.3 points, 3.6 assists, 41% FG shooting

Jalyn Patterson, 6-1, Sr., 22 minutes, 5.8 points, 3.0 assists, 38% FG shooting

Recruits

Brandon Rachal, 6-6, Natchitoches, No. 124 player in the country

Galen Alexander, 6-6, Lafayette, No. 137 player in the country

OLE MISS

2017 record: 22-14, overall; 10-8, SEC

Terence Davis, 6-4, Jr., 25 minutes, 14.9 points, 5.3 rebounds, 48% FG shooting

Deandre Burnett, 6-2, Sr., 30 minutes, 16.5 points, 3.2 assists, 36% FG shooting

Cullen Neal, 6-4, Sr., 24 minutes, 9.4 points, 2.2 assists, 41% FG shooting

Justas Furmanavicius, 6-7, Sr., 25 minutes, 6.3 points, 5.0 rebounds, 48% FG shooting

Marcanvis Hyman, 6-7, Sr., 22 minutes, 3.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 52% FG shooting

Recruits

Devontae Shuler, 6-3, Mouth of Wilson (Va.), No. 106 player in the country

Jamarko Pickett, 6-8, Washington (Va.), No. 113 player in the country

MISSISSIPPI STATE

2017 record: 16-16 overall; 6-12, SEC

Quinndary Weatherspoon, 6-4, Jr., 32 minutes, 16.5 points, 5.1 rebounds, 47% FG shooting

Mario Kegler, 6-7, So., 28 minutes, 9.7 points, 5.5 rebounds, 42% FG shooting

Aric Holman, 6-10, Jr., 23 minutes, 8.4 points, 6.0 rebounds, 50% FG shooting

Lamar Peters, 6-0, So., 25 minutes, 10.7 points, 3.4 assists, 39% FG shooting

Tyson Carter, 6-4, So., 20 minutes, 7.5 points, 1.7 rebounds, 40% FG shooting

Recruits

Nick Weatherspoon, 6-1, Camden, No. 27 player in the country

MISSOURI

2017 record: 8-24, overall; 2-16, SEC

Jordan Barnett, 6-7, Sr., 27 minutes, 12.2 points, 5.7 rebounds, 44% FG shooting

Kevin Puryear, 6-7, Jr., 30 minutes, 11.8 points, 6.0 rebounds, 41% FG shooting

Terrence Phillips, 5-11, Jr., 28 minutes, 10.4 points, 4.4 assists, 37% FG shooting

Jordan Geist, 6-2, Jr., 22 minutes, 7.0 points, 3.0 rebounds, 36% FG shooting

Cullen Vanleer, 6-4, Jr., 24 minutes, 5.6 points, 1.8 rebounds, 36% FG shooting

Recruits (No. 16 class in the country)

Michael Porter, 6-9, Seattle (Wash.), No. 1 player in the country

C.J. Roberts, 6-0, Richland Hills (Tex.), No. 98 player in the country

Blake Harris, 6-2, Raleigh (N.C.), No. 142 player in the country

SOUTH CAROLINA

2017 record: 26-11, overall; 12-6, SEC

PJ Dozier, 6-6, Jr., 29 minutes, 13.9 points, 4.8 rebounds, 41% FG shooting

Chris Silva, 6-9, Jr., 21 minutes, 10.2 points, 6.1 rebounds, 52% FG shooting

Malik Kotsar, 6-10, Sr., 24 minutes, 5.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, 49% FG shooting

Recruits

David Beatty, 6-2, Philadelphia (Pa.), No. 138 player in the country

TENNESSEE

2017 record: 16-16, overall; 8-10, SEC

Grant Williams, 6-5, So., 25 minutes, 12.6 points, 5.9 rebounds, 50% FG shooting

Lamonte Turner, 6-0, So., 21 minutes, 8.2 points, 2.7 assists, 36% FG shooting

Jordan Bowden, 6-3, So., 23 minutes, 7.9 points, 2.9 rebounds, 37% FG shooting

Jordan Bone, 6-1, So., 20 minutes, 7.2 points, 2.9 assists, 37% FG shooting

Shembari Phillips, 6-3, Jr., 21 minutes, 6.2 points, 3.1 rebounds, 38% FG shooting

Recruits

None

TEXAS A&M

2017 record: 16-15, overall; 8-10, SEC

Tyler Davis, 6-10, Jr., 26 minutes, 14.1 points, 7.0 rebounds, 62% FG shooting

Robert Williams, 6-9, So., 26 minutes, 11.9 points, 8.2 rebounds, 56% FG shooting

Admon Gilder, 6-4, Jr., 35 minutes, 13.7 points, 3.9 assists, 43% FG shooting

DJ Hogg, 6-9, Jr., 30 minutes, 12.0 points, 5.1 rebounds, 40% FG shooting

Tonny Trocha-Morelos, 6-10, Sr., 8.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 41% FG shooting

Recruits (No. 20 class in the country)

Savion Flagg, 6-6, Alvin, No. 41 player in the country

T.J. Stokes, 6-0, Dallas, No. 125 player in the country

Jay Jay Chandler, 6-4, Katy, No. 131 player in the country

VANDERBILT

2017 record: 19-16, overall; 10-8, SEC

Jeff Roberson, 6-6, Sr., 32 minutes, 10.8 points, 7.0 rebounds, 42% FG shooting

Matthew Fisher-Davis, 6-5, Sr., 28 minutes, 13.9 points, 3.2 rebounds, 40% FG shooting

Riley LaChance, 6-2, Sr., 31 minutes, 10.5 points, 3.9 assists, 47% FG shooting

Joe Toye, 6-7, Jr., 21 minutes, 6.4 points, 2.6 rebounds, 40% FG shooting

Recruits

Saben Lee, 6-1, Tempe (Az.), No. 120 player in the country

Ejike Obinna, 6-9, Ashburn (Va.), No. 130 player in the country

Maxwell Evans, 6-2, Houston (Tex.), No. 147 player in the country

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