Things keep getting better and better for John Brady's Tigers! article LSU signee gets top honor Lloreda is NJCAA Player of the Year 05/07/02 By Jim Kleinpeter Staff writer/The Times-Picayune BATON ROUGE -- Long after casting his lot with the LSU basketball team, Tigers recruit Jaime Lloreda provided some validation for his potential. Lloreda on Monday was selected Player of the Year by the National Junior College Athletic Association. He led Dixie Junior College of St. George, Utah, to the NJCAA tournament championship. Lloreda, 6-foot-8, 240 pounds, signed with LSU in November during the early signing period. He has been getting a lot of attention lately after scoring 26 points to lead Dixie to an 82-81 victory over Coffeyville (Kan.) College in the title game. Lloreda scored 11 points in the final nine minutes as Dixie overcame a 15-point deficit. He had 96 points in four games and was named tournament MVP. For the season he averaged 23.5 points and 9.5 rebounds. "On our level, he's the greatest player to play at Dixie," said Coach Jeff Kidder, who was named Coach of the Year. "Coaching a player like Jaime makes you a better coach. I think he's done everything he could possibly do at this level." Lloreda was a two-time conference Player of the Year, twice a junior college All-American and twice made the national all-tournament team. Dixie was 34-3 this season and had a two-year record of 68-6. It has a 48-game home winning streak. Lloreda's number will be the first that Dixie retires. "I never thought it would be this good," said Lloreda, a native of Colon, Panama, by way of Florida. "I'm really excited about coming to LSU." "I think he's a special player," LSU coach John Brady said. "Not only is he talented, but he competes every single day, in practice or in games. For being 6-8, he has a nice skill level as far as passing and dribbling." Lloreda's ability hasn't gone unnoticed by NBA scouts. Kidder said seven NBA teams have sent scouts to watch him play. But Lloreda and Kidder both said it's unlikely he will make the jump to the pros, as LSU signee Kedrick Brown did a year ago. Brown became the first junior college player to be selected in the first round when the Boston Celtics took him with the 11th pick. "I'm definitely coming to LSU," Lloreda said. "I want to get a degree. I don't feel I'm ready yet for the NBA. I need to improve my game." "I don't think he's considering that," Kidder said. "What the scouts have told me is he needs to go to LSU and play at a high level to get ready for the NBA." Lloreda brings what LSU was lacking last season -- an inside presence who can score around the basket. "He's got a power game," Kidder said. "He's kind of a throwback. He plays with his back to the basket. He has a variety of escape moves and post moves, good footwork and balance."