By CODY WORSHAM | Tiger Rag Editor
LSU got big news on Wednesday when Mayan Kiir signed with the Tigers.
How big, exactly, was the news?
About 6-foot-10 and 220 pounds.
Kiir, who signed with Will Wade at VCU last fall, will follow Wade to LSU, which was actually among Kiir’s original list of finalists. He’s the third member of the Tigers’ 2017 class, which jumped 26 spots, from No. 58 to No. 32 nationally, according to 247Sports.com’s Composite Rankings.
Here’s a look at exactly what kind of player LSU is getting in Kiir.
Kiir is long and aggressive, with a sturdy frame, and he uses his size and determination to dominate the glass. He was fourth among 838 players on the Adidas Uprising circuit last year in total rebounds (138 in 14 games), according to Open Look Analytics, and was second in defensive rebounds (95).
Watching film of him, he’s effective on the boards thanks to strong hands and a high motor. He contests for every ball, high points misses well, and brings down the ball in traffic.
Physical Post Presence
Kiir isn’t a finished product offensively. He averaged about 14 points per game at Victory Rock Prep and 13 points per game on the Adidas Circuit with the Florida Sons – solid, if unspectacular numbers. With the Sons, his offensive rating was 103.8, which is nothing to write home about.
But he offers something in the paint LSU really needs: sheer, brutal physicality. He’s got more meat to his frame than Duop Reath, with a thicker lower body and core that he uses to post up on the block. He does most of his finishing with his right hand, and he does have some face up to his game.
He’s not as versatile a scorer as Reath – he doesn’t score as much from outside of 10 feet – but he’s a more aggressive block player. He was fifth among Adidas players in free throw rate, getting to the line 109 times in 14 games. He was only a 60 percent shooter there, but the ability to get to the free throw line at a young age is more important than the ability to make them, which can be taught.
Kiir has some advanced fundamental skills already, as many Australian prospects do. He passes quite well, leading all Adidas players 6-foot-7 or taller with a 12.0 assist rate last spring, his footwork is very good, and he can put the ball on the floor.
Everyone I’ve talked to about Kiir says his best quality is his energy. He plays hard from tip off to final whistle. He’s a rim runner on both ends of the floor who would love nothing more than to dunk every ball he gets on offense and block every shot that goes up on the other end of the floor.
Kiir has some real grit and edge to his game, which is exactly what LSU needs to pair next to Reath on the block. When Craig Victor left, LSU asked Wayde Sims, Aaron Epps, and Reath – skilled players by nature – to become enforcers on the block. That’s not their nature, but it is Kiir’s. He blocks shots, sure, but he’s especially physical one-on-one defender in the paint who doesn’t cede turf to attackers.
Also, he took what may have been the first charge ever taken in an AAU game. Seriously.
Kiir will play right away for LSU and give them the physical, high energy presence they need inside. He and Reath will make a good tandem, as Kiir will allow Reath to play more comfortably as a four man, absorbing much of the dirty work around the basket.
Long term, Kiir has Chieck Diallo-like potential as a lane-to-lane rim-runner who can finish around the basket, snatch up boards, and protect the rim. Some of his offensive skills are already SEC-ready, but he’ll need to refine his shooting stroke.
Critically, though, like Brandon Rachal and Galen Alexander, he brings some edge, physicality, and toughness to his game, the sorts of characteristics of which LSU needs a hefty infusion. In this freshman class, LSU isn’t getting any electric scorers capable of dropping 30 night in, and night out. But they are getting the guys those guys dread being guarded by.