LSU lands juco forward Deng

BATON ROUGE, La. -- LSU landed its first recruit for the 2013 basketball signing class when Deng Deng, a 6-foot-8, 215-pound Australian playing at Lee College in Baytown, Texas committed Monday, his coach confirmed.

Lee's coach, Roy Champage, said LSU is getting a skilled, international-style small forward with SEC length.

"He's a 6-8 small forward who has the ability to have mismatches and play big close to the basket," Champagne said. "He's not a thick body type, but he's constantly working. He has a cut upper body, but a slender lower body, so he's not what I would call a power forward."

Instead, Champagne sees Deng as a small forward or a face-up power foward.

"He's a great passer, great European-style player," he said. "He has limited deep [shooting] range, but he can bang the 3s. We have to get him to use his lower body more if he's going to be a great shooter."

Deng is the first Australian to sign with the current staff at LSU. First-year head coach Johnny Jones' staff includes an Australian assistant coach in David Patrick, whose last job before joining LSU in the spring was as a scout for the Houston Rockets. Baytown is located in the east Houston suburbs.

LSU has a need for players who can play inside. The Tigers have an 11-man roster for the 2011-12 season with only three recruited big men, including a senior in Eddie Ludwig. Also, center Andrew del Piero, a walk-on who was put on scholarship this season, is also a senior. LSU has five scholarships to give for the 2012-2013 class.

Deng, a native of Sudan who emigrated to Australia, originally tried to play for an American college last year before running into NCAA Clearinghouse issues and enrolling in Lee. He will play this year as a freshman and will have three years to play at LSU if he completes his associate's degree at Lee.

He is one of two players named Deng Deng who will play major college basketball next year. Another Deng Deng, a 6-foot-6 wing who also grew up in Sudan, but played high school ball in Utah, is on Long Beach State's roster.

Champagne said he expects his Deng to fit Jones' preferred up-tempo style and said he will play in a system this year at Lee that will prepare him for it.

"We really ask all of our guys to be basketball players," Champagne said. "We expect all of our guys to defend everybody and to be able to dribble when they need to. We work constantly to make our guys perimeter players."

He said his length will make him fit well in the SEC.

"He's 6-8 with long arms and he'll protect the rim defensively and attack the rim offensively," Champagne said. "He's a very good basketball player, not just some guy who's going to wow you with his jumping ability. He plays a complete game."