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Tulane transfer Jalen Cook returns to LSU, adding exciting talent

On3 imageby:Matthew Brune04/07/23

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LSU made its biggest splash of the Matt McMahon era on Friday when Jalen Cook announced his decision to transfer back to Baton Rouge.

Cook began his career at LSU as a freshman under Will Wade, but transferred to Tulane where he spent the last two seasons emerging as one of the more prolific point guards in the country. Now, he’s back playing for the Tigers, this time under a new head coach and with very different expectations ahead.

In his two seasons at Tulane, Cook’s scoring exploded, averaging 18 points per game in 2022 before getting even better and scoring 19.9 points in 2023 on 45.2 percent shooting from the field. In addition, Cook averaged 4.9 assists and 1.8 steals per game this past season en route to a second consecutive season on the All-AAC first team.

Back in 2020, his one year at LSU, Cook was buried behind Javonte Smart and Cam Thomas in the backcourt, forcing him to look elsewhere. After proving himself down in New Orleans, Cook returns to the SEC ready for the next step in his development, now in one of the best conferences in the country.

Cook was rated as the No. 13 player in the transfer portal by On3, making him one of the more highly touted players on the move. His list of interested schools reflected that, as Cook heard from several schools in Texas and throughout the SEC looking to get his services. It’s a massive win for McMahon and his staff heading into year two.

Filling needs in the portal

LSU was in need of a point guard after a 2022-23 season where creation was one of the biggest issues for the Tigers in year one under McMcahon. Justice Hill and Justice Williams both entered the transfer portal, leaving the staff without any true point guards on the team, only off guards like Adam Miller, Cam Hayes, and Trae Hannibal. Cook solves that problem, not only with his ability to create for others, but also finding ways to get his own shot off.

Now, the Walker, Louisiana native will have to help get everything in order for the Tigers. He’ll be expected to be the leading scorer and assist man and show that he can elevate this team in the SEC.

McMahon and his staff are still hard at work filling out the rest of the roster, but getting this piece to go with Vanderbilt transfer Jordan Wright is exactly the start the Tigers were hoping for. 

We’ve covered other targets and visits in our On3+ stories, so check that out if you haven’t already. Stay tuned to the Bengal Tiger On3 for the latest on men’s basketball, the transfer porta, visits, and more.

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