Antonio Blakeney’s elite athleticism will make him a star

Incoming freshman shooting guard Antonio Blakeney has the athleticism to match his superb scoring ability, something that will give SEC opponents nightmares during the upcoming LSU basketball season.

Antonio Blakeney may not have the national recognition that teammate Ben Simmons does, but that will change once the LSU basketball season gets underway.

Blakeney, a five-star shooting guard out of Sarasota, Fla., is the type of dynamic scorer on the wing that the Bayou Bengals have not seen since Marcus Thornton. Much like Thornton, Blakeney has a tremendous outside shot that keeps the defense honest at all times. What makes him even more dangerous, though, is his top-notch athleticism.

The LSU basketball coaching staff recently tested out their top-15 recruit’s vertical jump, and the results were even more impressive than originally expected.

A 45-inch vertical would put Blakeney in elite company in the NBA, much less college basketball. For reference, his vertical jump is higher than that of Derrick Rose, Nate Robinson and LeBron James, and only three inches less than Michael Jordan’s was at his athletic peak.

Earlier this week, Blakeney showed off the highlight-reel dunking abilities that his insane athleticism allows him to possess. Here is a clip of LSU head coach Johnny Jones tossing his freshman guard an alley-oop off the side of the backboard, as Blakeney finishes the dunk with authority.

With Simmons and Blakeney both suiting up for the Bayou Bengals this season, expect plenty more impressive highlights to come.

What makes Blakeney’s athleticism such a threat, however, is not the dunking ability. It is how it enables him to score at ease, regardless of how many defenders stand in his way.

Whether it is rising up above the defense to hit a turnaround jumpshot, bursting past his defender for an easy layup or bringing down the house with a sensational dunk, Blakeney has proven that he has the potential to be one of the premier scorers in college basketball.

The heralded freshman has very high hopes for his new team as well.

“We know there are high expectations, but we’re willing to live up to them,” Blakeney told The Advocate. “You can’t do it by yourself. You have got to have a good team and that’s part of the reason why I chose this school. They have players that can make me better…I think we’re going to win the national championship.”

If LSU is going to give Kentucky a run for the SEC title, this is exactly the type of confidence that the Tigers need. His lofty national championship aspirations may see a little extreme, but when you consider the talent on this team, the sky is the limit.