(Special to the American Press)
Last Modified: Tuesday, April 09, 2013 6:00 PM
BATON ROUGE (AP) — LSU starting forward Johnny O'Bryant III wants a chance to play in an NCAA tournament and hopes that by returning for at least one more season, he'll be able to do that.
O'Bryant, who was considering declaring himself eligible for the NBA draft, revealed his decision to stay in school in an announcement with coach Johnny Jones on Tuesday.
"My job next year is to lead this team in the right direction," O'Bryant said. "Next year's team will be a better team and we will be on a bigger stage where I can showcase my talents."
O'Bryant was a second-team All-Southeastern Conference selection this past season. He averaged 13.6 points and 8.7 rebounds per game. He also registered 15 double-doubles, with all but three coming against SEC teams.
A former McDonald's All-American, O'Bryant started 45 games in his two years with the Tigers. For his career, O'Bryant has scored 11.1 points and snared 7.7 rebounds per game.
O'Bryant, a second-team All-Southeastern Conference selection this past season, averaged 13.6 points and 8.7 rebounds per game. He registered 15 double-doubles - all but three against SEC teams.
"I made great strides from my freshman year to my sophomore year," O'Bryant said. "I grew as a player. My decision came down to what I have to do for my family and myself.
LSU finished last season with a 19-12 record, 9-9 in the SEC. The only winning conference record for the Tigers in the past seven years came in 2009 when they won the SEC title.
LSU is now expected to have four key contributors return next season: O'Bryant, Shavon Coleman, Anthony Hickey and Andre Stringer.
Jones said that when he heard the decision, he wanted to jump around his desk give O'Bryant "a bear hug."
"It is important to recruit and get good players, but the impact when you get a Johnny O'Bryant to stay is great," Jones said. "He is a system guy who understands what we want to do."
Jones is bringing in a well-regarded recruiting class led by McDonald's All-America post player Jarell Martin of Baton Rouge.
"We have a good recruiting class coming in," said O'Bryant, who talked of being impressed by the roles veteran leaders played on the best teams in this year's NCAA tournament, including national champion Louisville. "With me being back, I can help the new guys. They need me to be a leader to help get the team going."