Johnny Jones came home last week, landing the job he had always wanted.Patrick Swilling would love to see if that same opportunity exists for him.
The former Brother Martin two-sport star is searching for his next basketball home, and he hopes Jones’ hiring opens the door for that to be LSU.
“I am very interested in LSU,” Swilling Jr. said. “I have Louisiana ties with my family there and my dad knows Coach Jones pretty well.”
Swilling’s father is former New Orleans Saints linebacker Pat Swilling, who played in New Orleans when Jones was an assistant under Dale Brown.
A 6-foot-3½, 215-pound combo guard, Swilling Jr. said he hasn’t spoken to Jones yet, but his father has.
“I’ve always had an interest in LSU,” Swilling Jr. said. “Out of high school, I gave going there a good, hard look, but decided it wasn’t the place for me at that time.”
Times have changed, of course, for both Swilling Jr. and at LSU.
After a standout career at Brother Martin when he led the Crusaders to a Class 5A state championship, Swilling Jr. went through an extensive recruiting process and wound up at St. Joseph’s in Philadelphia along with Langston Galloway from Baton Rouge.
|Patrick Swilling Jr.: 12.3 points a game as a sophomre|
While Galloway has fit in well with the Atlantic 10 program, Swilling never did. He played sparingly as a freshman and abruptly left school in February of 2011.
When he resurfaced, Swilling was at College of Southern Idaho, a junior college.
As a sophomore this past winter, Swilling rediscovered his game and averaged 12.3 points and 3.3 rebounds a game with 65 assists. His best game was a 37-point outburst against Chemeketa (Ore.) Community College on Nov. 19 and he scored 15 points or more in 13 other games.
“A lot of people look at me as a two-guard because I can score, but I think I’m a combo guard because I can help handle the ball and guard either position on defense,” Swilling Jr. said.
The Tigers aren’t in dire need of backcourt players, with four on scholarship (Anthony Hickey, Andre Stringer, Ralston Turner, John Isaac) and another who signed a national letter of intent in November (Malik Morgan).
But Swilling Jr. said he sees a fit with LSU and a program where he could step in and fill a leadership role as a veteran player who has seen the game from different perspectives.
“I think I’d be a very good fit at LSU,” Swilling Jr. said. “I cheered for the Tigers all my life growing up. Being an older guy, I think I could help some of the younger guys. I know a lot of the guys already there, and I’m good friends with Malik. I feel like I already have a bond with that team from whenI was being recruited by Coach (Brent) Scott me.”
As of Wednesday, no scholarship offer has arrived from Jones, and Swilling Jr. is also considering Ole Miss, Colorado, UNLV, Boston College, Drake, Northwestern State and ULL.
He doesn’t hide who is hovering near the top of his wish list, though.
“I’d love to come home and play at LSU,” he said. “I think it’s the right place for me now.”