Members of the LSU basketball team got a special treat after its Monday morning practice as director of basketball operations Nelson Hernandez revealed a new addition to the revamped players lounge in the basketball facility.
Hernandez commissioned local artist Jacob Zumo to paint portraits of every player on the LSU basketball team that now feature heavily on a wall in the players lounge, and he revealed those paintings to players and media during Monday’s media availability session.
“In the players’ locker room, there was kind of this space that was an empty space,” Hernandez said. “There was a couch, but not much in there. We turned it into a little lounge. We couldn’t make the space bigger, but we tried to make it homey.
Hernandez said he took inspiration from the staff’s time at VCU under Wade in which the team had a wall with head shots of the current team.
The photo-realistic paintings feature LSU players in a variety of poses meant to convey their style and attitude. The collection is centered by a portrait of head coach Will Wade.
“That’s dope,” said LSU freshman forward Naz Reid. “For an artist to have that skill set is crazy. They’re beautiful. I’ve never seen anything like that.
“(Mine) was perfect. Exact arms, exact face and hair. Everything is identical. I liked it. I loved it, actually.”
Senior forward Kavell Bigby-Williams was similarly impressed with the details exhibited by paintings, saying he liked how even his wristbands made it into the portrait.
“It shows that there are great people in this community,” Bigby-Williams said. “It shows that we have a lot of support. There are a lot of people that want the best for us as players and as human beings. The fact that he went out of his way, I mean, there are something like 14 portraits in there. I don’t know how long it took, but I know it must have taken a long time time to do all those paintings. I’m appreciative and grateful for him.”