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Five-star forward Jarrell Martin commits to LSU

First-year coach Johnny Jones made a huge splash on Thursday, as the Bayou Bengals won a national recruiting battle for the 6'9 220 forward, a native of Louisiana.

Chris Graythen

Johnny Jones, LSU's new basketball coach, has wasted no time since taking over the basketball program at his alma mater this off-season.

On Thursday, he picked up a commitment from class of 2013 forward Jarrell Martin, a five-star 6'9 220 prospect ranked by most national recruiting services as one of the top 15 players in the country.

LSU beat out schools like Alabama, UCLA, St. John's, Texas A&M and Louisville for his services, a huge victory for a program that has struggled to keep in-state talent at home in the last decade.

Since a team that featured future pros Tyrus Thomas and Glen "Big Baby" Davis made the Final Four in 2006, the Bayou Bengals program has steadily slipped into irrelevance. John Brady was fired two years later, while Trent Johnson, after four uneven seasons, decamped for TCU in the off-season.

However, the school may have found a winner in Jones, who did a stellar job slowly building North Texas into relevance over the last decade. Jones left behind a team in Denton that features a sure-fire pro in Tony Mitchell, and he's well on his way to recreating that success at Baton Rouge.

The commitment of a player like Martin could signal a sea-change for LSU, who could quickly become a basketball power in the SEC if they continue to be this successful on the recruiting trail.

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