The departure of Will Wade as the LSU basketball coach on March 12th signified notable changes within the program, marking the first domino to fall en route to a program rebuild. A mass exodus ensued, featuring 11 Tigers entering the transfer portal and two others declaring for the NBA Draft.
Leaving Murray State to take over in Baton Rouge, Matt McMahon began his tenure at LSU with zero players on the roster. McMahon convinced Justice Williams, Adam Miller, and Mwani Wilkinson to withdraw from the portal, the only returning players for the 2022-2023 season. The 2022 OVC Coach of the Year then resorted to the transfer portal to reshape the Tigers’ roster. LSU’s roster now sits at 13 for next season as McMahon reeled in six transfers from the portal along with a four-man top-15 recruiting class.
LSU TRANSFER ADDITIONS:
KJ Williams, Murray State
18.0 PTS/ 8.4 REB / 1.4 STL / 53.8% FG
Justice Hill, Murray State
13.4 PTS / 5.1 AST / 2.3 REB / 1.1 STL
Trae Hannibal, Murray State
9.2 PTS / 5.1 REB / 2.5 AST / 51.9% FG
Cam Hayes, NC State
7.0 PTS / 2.3 REB / 2.1 AST
Kendal Coleman, Northwestern State
15.4 PTS / 10.1 REB / 1.3 BLK / 54.6% FG
Derek Fountain, Mississippi State
1.8 PTS / 1.8 REB
Reigning OVC Player of the Year KJ Williams highlights the transfer class for the Tigers, which includes three former Racers who followed McMahon. Williams brings experience and can be a dominant scoring presence in the SEC, averaging 13.4 points 7.2 rebounds over 124 games at Murray State.
Justice Hill and Trae Hannibal round out the trio from Murray State, two dynamic guards that can provide depth in the Tigers’ backcourt. Hannibal began his career at South Carolina, spending two years in Columbia and gaining Power 5 experience before tallying career-highs in points, rebounds, and assists in his lone season at Murray State. Hill was an All-OVC First Team selection in 2022 and a major factor in the Racers’ Round of 32 appearance.
NC State transfer Cam Hayes is the third guard addition for the Tigers via the portal, averaging 7.3 points and 2.1 rebounds over two seasons with the Wolfpack. Hayes was a four-star prospect and the number three player in the state of North Carolina in the class of 2020.
With the additions of forward Derek Fountain and Kendal Coleman, two big men will join the roster in Baton Rouge, a much needed presence after the loss of Tari Eason, Darius Days, and Efton Reid. The future Tigers join the program after two seasons at their previous instructions: Fountain from Mississippi State and Coleman from Northwestern State. Fountain earned valuable experience at the Power 5 level with the Bulldogs, while Coleman earned First-Team All-Southland Conference and First-Team All-Defense honors. The former Demon recorded 17 double-doubles, ranking 10th in all of college basketball.
The changing of the guard at LSU marks a new era for the Tigers, one that will include 10 new players during the 2022-2023 season. As McMahon looks to replicate his success while at Murray State, we take a look at the projected starting lineup for the Tigers.
TPR’S PROJECTED LINEUP FOR LSU:
JUSTICE HILL, G
ADAM MILLER, G
MWANI WILKINSON, F
KJ WILLIAMS, F
KENDAL COLEMAN, C
SIXTH MAN: CAM HAYES/JUSTICE WILLIAMS
Incoming freshmen Tyrell Ward and Jalen Reed will fight for a spot in the starting lineup, hoping to push Coleman to a role off the bench. If one of the freshmen are able to crack the starting lineup, expect Cam Hayes or Justice Williams, both quality ball handlers, to earn the first call off of the bench.