Notebook: Marlon Taylor Out a 'Few Weeks,' Will Wade Previews UMBC and Talks Cam Thomas Signing
Before LSU heads to Jamaica on Wednesday, where it will take on Utah State and Rhode Island, the Tigers have a matchup with March Madness darling UMBC on Tuesday. UMBC of course is infamous for being the first No. 16 seed to knock off a No. 1 seed in the tournament, beating Virginia in 2018.
LSU coach Will Wade met with the media Monday to discuss the upcoming week and provided updates on an injured starter and a new five-star signee.
Wade previews UMBC
Turnovers are the story for the Tigers three games in as LSU is second to last in the country with 67 turnovers, 25 of which came in a 75-65 win over Nicholls Saturday. Wade said most of the turnover troubles come in the halfcourt with players simply making routine errors.
"About a third of our turnovers are counters where we see somebody, and we spin or try to make a second move," Wade said. "Just go through him and go finish. Let’s stop countering so much. Some of it is correctable things and our guys are in the gym right now working on it, working against traps and trying to correct it because if we can’t correct it, we’ll never reach our potential as a team."
One player to watch on UMBC's roster is guard Darnell Rogers, who Wade called one of the quickest players the Tigers will face all season.
"He’s really good, he’s cat like quick, can score by driving or shooting behind ball screens," Wade said. "Whenever you have a little guard you have to be able to shoot. He can shoot and fill it up. He’s somebody I’ve seen play for four or five years. When you first see it, you don’t know how it’s going to work but when you watch him play, he plays with highest motors we will see anyone play with all year long."
UMBC enters Baton Rouge boasting a 4-0 record on the season, fresh off of blowing out Saint John's last week and oozing with confidence. Wade said UMBC will likely win the America East conference this season and will prove a stingy test for LSU before heading to Jamaica.
"They are one top teams in the American East, every year its them and Vermont. Vermont has just been clubbing people. They just beat St. Johns the other day, they have been beating everybody. The way they play defense and the way their system is built they will always be competing at the top of their league.”
Marlon Taylor out a 'few weeks'
Senior guard Marlon Taylor will have to wait a few more weeks before making his return to the lineup. Taylor, who had foot surgery during the offseason, still isn't right Wade said and the team is 'looking in his foot' to find the problem.
"I think our goal would be to have him back by the East Tennessee State game," Wade said. "I think that would be a realistic goal for him to come back in the middle of December but if not then right after Christmas."
LSU doesn't play East Tennessee State until Dec. 18 which means Javonte Smart and Skylar Mays will likely be carrying the load of the minutes moving forward. Through three games Mays is averaging over 36 minutes a game while Smart is hovering around 33 per game.
Wade speaks about five-star signee Cam Thomas
LSU also received word that five-star 2020 guard Cam Thomas would be signing with the program, making him the third signee of the class. Thomas is the No. 25 ranked player in the 2020 class, and someone who Wade calls the purest scorer he's been around while coaching.
"He’s the best scorer I’ve seen some out of high school or AAU since I’ve been coaching," Wade said. "He’s as prolific a scorer I’ve ever seen. Tremendous kid, tremendous family. His mother Leslie is a great lady, sister Shanice, really good people. They’ve done a great job of putting him in positions to be successful and locking in on his development."
Wade sees Thomas as somebody who can fill the void left by Skylar Mays and Marlon Taylor, who are both seniors as well as Javonte Smart, should he choose to leave the program after this season.