LSU Men Tennis vs. Memphis 3/11/2020

LSU junior men's tennis player Joey Thomas serves the ball on Wednesday, Mar. 11, 2020 during LSU's loss against the University of Memphis at the LSU Tennis Complex. 

The Tigers have had a lot of success in recruiting since the father-son duo of Andy and Chris Brandi became the co-head coaches in 2017. With three new additions to the squad acquired from the 2019-2020 class, their success is only growing.  

After a disappointing start to the 2010s, the Tigers began to make headway towards the end of the decade. They had the 14th-best recruiting class in the 2018-2019 season, acquiring blue-chip recruit Ronald Hohmann and Tomas Descarrega.  

They followed up that recruiting class by adding another blue-chip recruit in Ben Koch this year. They also added two talented, international players: Joao Graca and Tom Pisane.

Coach Chris Brandi is excited about the class, stating that it’s one of the best classes they’ve had, and one of the best in the country.  

“I don’t want to get too excited,” said Brandi. “But I think this is one of the best teams LSU has had in a very long time.” 

It’s hard to picture how good these players will be at the college level, but Coach Brandi’s confidence gives a good indication that expectations are high. But how good are these players?  

The Tigers started with Ben Koch, a blue-chip (meaning best-of-the-best) recruit out of Abbeville, Louisiana. He is ranked 18th in the nation and could make an immediate impact.  

“He was a no-brainer,” said Brandi about Koch. “Ben’s really talented and I think he’s going to be a great player for us.” 

Then they got Joao Graca, a talented player out of Faro, Portugal. Graca excelled at the beginning of 2020, earning huge wins and the attention of LSU’s coaching staff. 

"I think that he’s going to be one that people are really excited to watch because his talent level is through the roof,” stated Brandi. “He’s a guy that is only going to get better.” 

And last but not least, they picked up Tom Pisane, a highly touted recruit out of Belgium. He is currently ranked No. 1041 in the ATP singles rankings, which is a professional tennis league. He is one of the highest rated incoming freshmen and according to Coach Brandi, he is “probably the highest ranked player LSU’s had in a very long time.”  

Each prospect mentioned the coaching when asked why they chose to sign with the Tigers, with Ben Koch calling the coaches “one of the best combos in college tennis.” Pisane agreed and also stated that the school was the “best school for [him] to go to in every aspect.” 

Overall, the culture and talent level of the LSU Men’s Tennis team has completely shifted since the Coach Andy and Chris Brandi joined only a few years ago. And with this shift, comes more wins.   

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