BATON ROUGE – Johnny O'Bryant III hopes to be the seventh LSU men’s basketball player to be drafted by the National Basketball Association since 2005 when the league holds its annual draft Thursday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
The two rounds of drafting are expected to begin after 7 p.m. ET and will be televised on ESPN.
O’Bryant III, from Cleveland, Miss., is expected to be LSU’s first draft selection since seven-foot center Justin Hamilton was taken in the second round in 2012 by Philadelphia and subsequently traded on draft night to Miami.
Since 2000, all of the LSU draft picks, with the exception of shooting guard Marcus Thornton who was taken in the second round by New Orleans (43rd pick), have all been forwards or centers: 2000 – Stromile Swift (Vancouver, 2nd pick); Jabari Smith (Sacramento, 2nd round); 2005 – Brandon Bass (New Orleans, 2nd round); Tyrus Thomas (Portland, traded to Chicago, 4th pick); 2007 – Glen Davis (Seattle, traded to Boston, 2nd round); 2008 – Anthony Randolph (Golden State, 14th pick); and, 2012 – Hamilton (Philadelphia traded to Miami, 2nd round).
O’Bryant III has taken part in 16 workouts including the NBA combine and the three-year LSU player is at 255 pounds as he enters draft night.
“It’s been a tough month knocking out all these workouts,” O’Bryant III said by phone on Guaranty Broadcasting’s “After Further Review” on ESPN104.5 in Baton Rouge Tuesday. “I’m trying to stay mentally focused, but it will be all worth it if I hear my name called on Thursday night.”
In his junior season, JOB III was named to the Coaches All-SEC First Team for the second consecutive year while also being named All-Louisiana and All-District by the United States Basketball Writers and the National Association of Basketball Coaches.
He had eight 20-plus point scoring games and eight double doubles, giving him 25 for his career. O’Bryant III averaged 15.4 points a game, 7.7 rebounds and 1.6 assists a contest while playing an average of 30 minutes a game. He was ninth in the league in scoring, fifth in rebounding and his 49.6% field goal percentage (203-of-409) was the fourth best in the Southeastern Conference.
The forward finished his career with 702 rebounds, 20th on LSU’s all-time list and his 1,157 career points puts him 31st on the school scoring list. O’Bryant III finished his career as one of just 14 players in LSU history to have 1,000 career points and 700 rebounds.
O’Bryant III is expected to watch the draft in his hometown of Cleveland, Miss., at the home of his mother, Angela Moore. Also expected to watch with him will be agent Jackson, Miss., lawyer Gerald Collier and two of his closest friends – former LSU players Andre Stringer and Jalen Courtney.