The LSU Tigers have now won their last two games since their 82-80 loss to Trevor Releford and the Alabama Crimson Tide on Jan. 25. Their upset win earlier this week against the No. 11 Kentucky Wildcats displayed strong interior performances from junior forward Johnny O’Bryant and freshman forward Jordan Mickey. In tonight’s home game against the Arkansas Razorbacks, we saw a little bit of the same dominance from both players.
Over this two-game span, O’Bryant has averaged 26 points and nine rebounds while physically dominating the opposition in the paint. Looking back at their game against UK, he was able to outplay all three Wildcat big men: sophomore Willie Cauley-Stein, freshman Dakari Johnson and freshman phenom Julius Randle. His 6-foot-9, 250-pound frame is making him a very tough assignment for any college player in the post. The Razorbacks didn’t have much of an answer either.
O’Bryant is proving that he deserves a stronger look from draft experts for the next level. A few mock drafts had him going in the mid-to-late second round this year if he were to declare for the draft. Due to recent developments, it may be in their best interest to go ahead and move his name up the list, maybe into the late first round.
LSU’s win tonight against the Razorbacks can mostly be attributed to a total team effort on both sides of the ball. More importantly, the emergence of Mickey makes them a formidable matchup against many power teams in the SEC and across the NCAA. His long, slender build and athleticism have made him one of the best shot blockers in the country. He currently leads the SEC with an average of 3.6 blocks per game (tied for fourth in the nation).
Mickey will have a lot of time to develop his overall game and body for the future. He still will have three years of eligibility remaining once this season concludes. It’s hard to believe that he won’t start turning some heads at the pro level if he continues to improve on an already impressive first college year.
It will be interesting to see where LSU ends up when March comes around.
Troy Dixon is a new sports writer for Rant Sports.