Shortly after wrapping up a tremendous second season at the helm of the UAB Blazers, head coach Andy Kennedy made one of the biggest moves of the offseason when he landed the commitment of former LSU guard Eric Gaines.
Gaines, a 6-foot-2 Georgia native, played two seasons under Will Wade at LSU prior to entering the portal this offseason. In April, he chose the Blazers, becoming a monumental addition for the program that already returns a strong core, led by C-USA Player of the Year Jelly Walker.
LSU transfer Eric Gaines announces his commitment to UAB. Somewhat limited as an offensive player, but a super athlete who was one of the best defensive players in the SEC this past season (see below). Will pair extremely well with Jelly Walker.pic.twitter.com/Qt2ClHVFht
— Kevin Sweeney (@CBB_Central) April 12, 2022
Kennedy joined The Portal Report’s George Michalowski on Wednesday for an exclusive interview, breaking down the addition of Gaines, as well as his team’s current outlook heading into the season.
“We were really fortunate. Eric Gaines, as you said, had a solid run at LSU,” Kennedy told The Portal Report. “His athleticism, his potential, would have put him in a position in which he quite frankly could’ve gone most anywhere he wanted in the country. We were fortunate to sell him on our vision, and the fact that we feel like he can come here and take the next step in his basketball life.”
This past season, Gaines improved in practically every statistic, compared to his freshman year numbers. He grabbed 3.3 rebounds per game and dished out 2.9 assists per game along with his 9 points per contest. While Gaines is one of the most talented players on the roster, he has used this summer to get even better, says Kennedy.
“He’s a tremendous athlete,” Kennedy continued. “Everything is really easy for him- he kind of glides. He really could be a hell of a track-and-field guy because he just glides, the way that he runs, he’s really quick on his feet. He’s got to get stronger, he’s got to gain some weight, which we are working on and he’s working on, and he’s just got to tighten his game. Because the game appears to be easy to him, sometime he gets a little loose. We are working on tightening his game and his perimeter shooting. He’s a good foul shooter, shows you that from a technique standpoint, he’s solid, but his three-point shooting has to improve in order for him to reach his potential. So those are some things we are working on this summer.”
TPR’s full interview with Kennedy, breaking down the Brewer brothers, the end of last season, and more on the team, will be released Thursday.