F Shavon Coleman signs with LSU

Johnny Jones has his first recruit as LSU's men's basketball coach.

Shavon Coleman, a 6-foot-6, 200-pound wing from Howard College in Texas via Thibodaux, La., signed with LSU Monday afternoon.

Coleman, who averaged 14.7 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1.7 assists for Howard as a sophomore, was recruited by former LSU coach Trent Johnson's staff and Jones stayed with the Louisiana native when he became coach over a week ago.

"Really, it came down to being close to home, my family getting to see me play," said Coleman, who also visited Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Oregon State. "That was the best place for me."

He said he worried about whether LSU would offer him after Johnson left LSU for TCU. That was not a problem.

"(Jones) recruited me and we just really connected," Coleman said. "Things worked out."

Jones said Coleman will be a good fit.

"He has a knack for scoring," Jones said. "He is a great defender and can create other opportunities for the players on the floor with him. We look forward to his competitiveness moving this team forward in the future."

He was the first of two LSU signings Monday, along with European wing Shane Hammink. Malik Morgan, a 6-foot-3 guard from John Curtis Christian in River Ridge, signed in the early period.

The addition of Coleman addresses LSU's need for big, versatile wings. At 6-foot-6, he will be the tallest wing on the team, along with 6-foot-6 returning junior Ralston Turner and Hammink.

His height also makes it possible for LSU to play a four-guard combination with Coleman playing as an undersized "four," or power forward. He will be too small to play the position straight up, but his perimeter skills would allow him to force true power forwards to have to defend a player with perimeter skills.

"That wouldn't be any problem for me," said Coleman of possibly playing some as an undersized power forward. "I know it's way different playing in the SEC from junior college, but I can take on the role of playing some four. I can defend a big or a guard. And they have to guard me too."

Coincidentally, he played at the same junior college as a player who did remarkably well at that role the last two seasons, Jae Crowder of Marquette. While Crowder was 35 pounds heavier than Coleman, Crowder played power forward in the Big East at 6-foot-6 and hurt opponents with his perimeter skill.

"I can play that role," Coleman said.

Coleman said he may actually be a better fit playing in Jones' up-tempo style of play than in Johnson's more methodical approach.

"I'm more of an up-and-down (the court) guy than a half-court guy," he said. "In junior college this year, I actually worked a lot on my half-court game because I need it in my game. But I like to go up-and-down. That's my style."

Coleman said he'll spend his summer at LSU after finishing the spring semester. He'll have two years of eligibility remaining. He played high school ball at Thibodaux High, where he averaged 28 points and 13 rebounds as a senior after averaging 20 points and 11 rebounds as a junior. He was a highly-recruited prospect, but concerns about his initial eligibility led him to Howard after he signed with Louisiana-Monroe.