Screenshot 2023 11 02 At 12.46.34 Pm
Basketball Long Beach State

PREVIEW: Long Beach State Men’s Basketball Hosts Exhibition Tonight

The562’s coverage of Long Beach State athletics for the 2023-24 season is sponsored by Marilyn Bohl.

The562’s coverage of Long Beach State basketball for the 2023-24 season is sponsored by Nelson Farris.

The 2023-24 season for Long Beach State men’s basketball starts tonight with an exhibition against Cal Lutheran. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Walter Pyramid.

With all five starters and 11 players returning to join a handful of exciting newcomers on the roster, LBSU’s 17th-year head coach Dan Monson is encouraged by the message that sends.

“It’s unique to have 11 returning players in the NIL era where guys can go check any place out, especially after the year we had last year,” Monson said. “I think a lot of them came back because it’s unfinished business and we underachieved last year. Having experience in college basketball is invaluable and I think that’s why people think we have a chance.”

The Beach was picked to finish second in the Big West Conference preseason coaches poll after finishing seventh last season.

Forwards Aboubacar Traore and Lassina Traore are both back in the LBSU front court after the Ivory Coast natives helped the Beach rank third in the nation in rebounds per game last season. Lassina Traore was named Big West Newcomer of the Year after recording 17 double-doubles, which ranked ninth in the nation.

Marcus Tsohonis, Jadon Jones and  AJ George are returning to the back court where they moved around to play multiple positions last year due to injury. Tsohonis set the LBSU program record with 46 points in a game against UCSD and finished 11th in scoring in the Big West. Jones led the Beach with 45 steals, 22 blocks and made 3-pointers.

“I think guys have been able to build more chemistry, we have more of an expectation of each other’s strengths, weaknesses and the system,” Jones said. “We have a better feel for things this year.”

The most impactful newcomers will be guards Isa Silva and Messiah Thompson. Silva, a transfer from Stanford, was a consensus national Top 100 recruit out of high school. Thompson, a transfer from Alabama A&M, averaged 10.8 points per game and shot 40.8 percent from three last year.

The regular season for LBSU starts on Monday at Portland. After an 8-game road trip, the Beach returns home to host Sacramento State on Dec. 2.

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JJ Fiddler
JJ Fiddler is an award-winning sportswriter and videographer who has been covering Southern California sports for multiple newspapers and websites since 2004. After attending Long Beach State and creating the first full sports page at the Union Weekly Newspaper, he has been exclusively covering Long Beach prep sports since 2007.