The hits keep coming for LSU basketball as guard Jalen Cook is reportedly entering the NCAA transfer portal. Cook joins veteran teammate Aundre Hyatt as the second LSU veteran to enter the portal in the last two days.
The news, first reported by 247sports Billy Embody, is another big blow to the LSU roster that has now lost six total players to the NBA draft and transfer portal since the 2020-21 season came to an end. In his lone season with the Tigers, the Walker High School product averaged 3.1 points per game in 20 appearances.
What Cook really became known for early in his career was his intensity and effort on the defensive end of the floor. While he was a walking bucket in high school, averaging nearly 30 points a game in each of his last two high school seasons, Cook wasn't needed as a scorer behind Cam Thomas and Javonte Smart.
He was viewed as a potential long term option at point guard next to Eric Gaines in the back court, making this a bigger blow to the team. Cook scored a season high 11 points in a loss to Georgia but his defense was the part of his game that Wade was particularly excited about before the season.
"Jalen Cook might be the best on-ball defender I've seen since I was at VCU and we had Briante Webber, who's the second all-time NCAA steals leader," Wade said. "Cook is as good as I've seen at hounding the ball and guarding the ball."
LSU is now down to three guards on the roster, including Gaines and three new incoming guards in Brandon Murray and transfers Seneca Knight and Xavier Pinson, who committed to the Tigers earlier this week. This is certainly a back court that will need some polishing before the season and while there is some experience coming in with this group, it's an area that will need to be addressed.