Shock waves were sent through the basketball recruiting trail Wednesday when 2021 center Moussa Cisse told ESPN he'd be graduating early and reclassifying to the 2020 class.
Cisse has six teams he'll choose from as a commitment is expected sometime next week. Those teams are Kentucky, Florida State, Memphis, Georgia, Georgetown and LSU. The Tigers have been linked to Cisse for a long time and are among the favorites to land the talented big man out of Lausanne Collegiate School in Memphis, Tennessee.
With an influx of talent on the way for the 2020 class, adding a game changing big man like Cisse would confirm what coach Will Wade has said all along about this team's potential, the Tigers would be national contenders.
But how would Cisse fit into the LSU system? Well at 6-foot-10, 220 pounds, Cisse's most important attribute would be his ability to defend at the rim.
One of the strengths of that 2018 Sweet Sixteen team a few years ago was the Tigers' paint defense, manned by Kavell Bigby-Williams and Naz Reid, which was among the best in the country. As great as Trendon Watford, Emmitt Williams and Darius Days were at grabbing rebounds for LSU, they were undersized bigs at the end of the day.
That won't be a problem with Cisse, whose 7-foot-4 wingspan not only helped him grab 15.3 rebounds a contest in what became his final high school season, but also saw him block 9.2 shots per game. In the Nike EYBL, going against some of the top talent in the country, Cisse blocked 4.5 shots per game.
The value of a rim stuffing big is an important commodity to have in college basketball, particularly because of the free flowing style of offense that Wade and the Tigers play with on the other end.
On offense, Cisse can stroke it a little but that won't be what Wade and the coaching staff ask him to do, especially with Cam Thomas on the floor. Imagine a cleanup role for Cisse on offense as he's somebody that will catch thunderous lobs and earn his bread and butter on the offensive glass with put back attempts.
He still needs to develop his post game but he does have a natural feel for getting out in transition, which could be another source for buckets.
If LSU is able to bring back some combination of Days, Watford and Javonte Smart, Cisse's offensive impact could be hindered a little bit. Thomas, according to Wade, is the best pure scorer he's seen as a recruiter in the high school circuits so you know he'll be the focal point of the offense.
“He’s just a tremendous player and scorer. Talk about somebody who’s working hard. I talk to him every day,” Wade said of Thomas in early May. “He goes at 7:30 in the morning and does all his conditioning workouts on a track and runs a hill. At night, he’s got a little access to a gym and he goes through an extensive shooting and ball-handling workout. We’ll put him in the role Skylar had and he’ll certainly have a huge impact on our team early."
With Shareef O'Neal transferring from UCLA and Bradley Ezewiro entering as a freshman, the addition of Cisse would be a tremendous asset to the team from a depth perspective. Add forwards like Watford or Days and now you're in real business.
We'll find out soon enough if Cisse ultimately chooses LSU and if he does, Wade's 2020 team could have an even brighter future than previously imagined.