Tari Eason is one of many players to leave the LSU men’s basketball program after the NCAA announced impending sanctions due to numerous violations under former coach Will Wade.
However, unlike his former teammates, Eason is eyeing down a potential top 10 draft pick after declaring for the NBA draft. Eason transferred to Baton Rouge from Cincinnati to play his sophomore season. In a year where rumors about high-level NCAA sanctions once again swirled in the Tiger program, Eason was a bright spot on a team that made the NCAA Tournament. He also earned First Team All-SEC honors.
He is a 6-foot-8 forward who weighs 216 pounds hailing from Los Angeles. Eason had a breakout sophomore campaign in which he averaged 16.9 points and 6.6 rebounds. He more than doubled his scoring from his freshman to sophomore seasons. His 52.1% field goal percentage ranked 64th in the country last season.
On top of his offensive ability on the court, he provides key defensive support too, at each level of the court. He averaged 1.1 blocks per game and 1.9 steals per game. His quickness and lateral movement allow him to clog passing lanes and adjust to block shots at the rim.
Now Eason is a work in progress, playing just two seasons of college basketball and being raw in the full picture of development. The main improvement areas start with his on-ball play and ability to play with both hands.
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However, Eason does have the skillset and the athletic gifts to potentially become an elite NBA contributor.
For Oklahoma City, Eason presents a defensive presence with length and strength and the offensive prowess with his control at the rim. The Thunder need frontcourt depth on a guard-heavy roster. With two lottery picks presenting two chances to grab a center or power forward, Eason, while a project, could be a valuable addition to a young team.
With two lottery picks, the Thunder could steal Eason with the latter choice, and pair him with another center or forward, which would help all parties involved with development and depth.
One of Mark Daignaeult’s best traits is his developmental skills, and handing over a player like Eason could pay dividends in the future for OKC.