Kelly, McMahon have LSU football, men’s basketball advancing – Crescent City Sports

(Photo: Stephen Lew)

METAIRIE – Brian Kelly has a challenging reconstruction job on his hands.

But Matt McMahon has an even more challenging challenge on his hands.

LSU’s new football coach and his new men’s basketball coach seem to be off to a good start with these tasks, though only records won and lost over the next season are a definite indicator of how well they’ve fared.

Both coaches updated Tigers fans on their programs when the LSU coaching caravan stopped at the Walk-On earlier this week.

Kelly told reporters beforehand that his message across the state was to tell Tiger fans what to expect from their teams.

“I didn’t come here with any other expectations, but putting together a championship program,” said the former Notre Dame coach. “It’s a process, but you have to look at our football team and have an expectation of what a coach has been doing for 32 years. This must be a prepared football team that plays hard, that plays hard for four quarters, that is ready to play every game.”

Kelly said he failed in his attempt to add an offensive lineman and a defensive player with his two remaining bags before the May 1 transfer portal deadline arrived.

“We couldn’t get to the max of 85 players,” Kelly said, “so we’ll be under water this recruiting season, but we’ll be able to catch up.”

The NCAA has raised the 25-player limit for a single year for the next two recruiting classes.

Kelly called 25 “an old-fashioned number” because it predated the ability for players to leave early for the NFL or enter the transfer portal.

The coach added that he has been much more hands-on in recruiting at LSU than at Notre Dame.

“Notre Dame became to me a little bit more like closing a deal,” Kelly said. “’We’ll bring in the head coach at the end.’ (At LSU) I’m at the beginning, which I like – developing relationships from the ground up.”

Kelly said the recruitment allowed him “a real feel for the state of Louisiana.”

“No disrespect to Indiana, but it doesn’t result in the same number of NFL prospects as the state of Louisiana,” Kelly said. “At Notre Dame, we were trying to get kids out of LA and all these different areas. It wasn’t the same.

“When you recruit a kid from Louisiana, his feeling for LSU is like he’s playing for the Yankees, he’s playing for the Canadiens if he’s from Montreal. He is so passionate.”

Kelly said the return of two offensive linemen – Anthony Bradford, who has been “unavailable” since the middle of last season, and Garrett Dellinger, who missed much of last season and all of spring practice with an injury. in the shoulder–“adds a whole lot” to the offense.

He called Bradford, which he “called like a tackle”, a “huge win for us”. Dellinger was recently released to full contact.

Matt McMahon

As for McMahon, he’s gone from zero players to 13 and third-class recruit in the SEC since he was hired on April 26 to replace Will Wade. McMahon didn’t inherit any players, but a serious NCAA investigation of Wade.

“With the circumstances and what we’ve been through, I’m definitely thrilled,” said the former Murray State coach. “Not only do I think we have good talent, but I think we have our kind of guys who really fit into the culture and foundation of what LSU basketball will be for years to come.”

McMahon called building the list “very challenging,” but he came up with “a very detailed and methodical way that we like to recruit.”

The LSU version featured four phases.

Number 1 was “the retention of current players” – trying to coax Wade’s former players – 11 of whom entered the transfer portal – out of the transfer portal.

“Most had already left, which is good,” McMahon said. “This is college basketball in 2022.”

But three of Wade’s former players have opted to play with McMahon again – forward Mwani Wilkinson and point guards Justice Williams and Adam Miller.

Phase No. 2 was to wear the tails of McMahon’s Murray State coat and they carried three of their former players who are “older, more experienced, proven winners, guys who understand what LSU’s basketball culture is going to be.”

Those players are Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year (center KJ Williams) and guards Justice Hill and Trae Hannibal.

Phase No. 3 involved newcomers from the transfer portal.

“Phase three was a big challenge here when you’re starting from scratch,” McMahon said. “You don’t just need great players, but you need to balance your classes and positions.

“Kendall Coleman (Northwestern State), Cam Hayes (NC State), Derek Fountain (Mississippi State) – all 3 guys played 2 years of college basketball and have 3 years of eligibility remaining. So they fill a lot of needs there.”

Phase No. 4 was high school recruitment.

“I believe that at LSU you can recruit the best players in the country,” McMahon said. “So we wanted to go straight to the best remaining players available for the Class of 2022 and build those relationships and take them to Baton Rouge. I feel like we were able to do that with the high school class we signed on.”

McMahon got four 4-star recruits – forwards Tyrell Ward and Jalen Reed, as well as centers Corneulous Williams and Shawn Phillips.

“I love the talent we were able to bring in,” McMahon said. “I think it’s about the right things that lead to victory – hard work, altruism, toughness, responsibility. Those are the things that we will continue to build the show on.”

McMahon had to overcome the expectation that the NCAA would impose sanctions on the Tigers in the not-too-distant future.

“Some people will immediately say no because of the cloud that is over the LSU program, but I have no control over that,” McMahon said. “We’re just moving the show forward and we’re going to put the right people on the show and build it that way.

“I think we have a player development program that has proven to be very successful over many years in helping players get to the highest level in basketball. I think we have a style of play and an offensive and defensive system that prepares players not only to win in college, but also to the next level. And so I think the LSU brand is strong across the country and obviously the opportunities that the SEC presents as well. I think we have a lot to sell.”

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