BATON ROUGE - LSU men's basketball coach Johnny Jones met with the media on Wednesday in preparation for Monday night's exhibition game against the University of Arkansas-Monticello scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Maravich Assembly Center.
Admission for the exhibition game is free.
Coach Jones talked about his team's progress so far and announced that three walk-ons have been added to the team's roster.
The three players joining the LSU team are:
Joshua Badeaux - RS Sophomore - BRCC/Central Lafourche HS, Galliano, La.
Mychal Williams - RS Junior - Airline HS, Bossier City, La.
Dave Jackson -Sophomore - Highland CC/Central Private HS, Port Allen, La.
LSU opens its 2012-13 season on Nov. 9 against UC Santa Barbara at 7 p.m. at the Maravich Center. Tickets for the game and all non-conference games will go on sale on Monday. Season tickets and mini-plans are on sale now at LSUtix.net.
Here are some of Coach Jones' comments from today's media session:
"We have had the opportunity to have a couple of scrimmages, along with officials. We had the fortune to actually scrimmage against another opponent on Sunday. Scrimmages are always good for us and are a great indicator for us at times to see exactly where we are. We knew going in there were a lot of areas that we need to continue to work on and try to improve. When you have an opportunity to go against another opponent, a lot of times you can be exploited in certain areas that you need to continue to work. Then, you have an opportunity to look at some things that were positive for you as well. We're excited about that. With that, we feel like we will continue to grow and get better as a basketball team. We look forward to hopefully getting (Charles) Carmouche back out on the floor. He wasn't able to be with us over the weekend. We are looking forward to Monday, with the exhibition game against Arkansas-Monticello in addition to getting our season started on Friday (Nov. 9) and knowing it's upon us."
On the scrimmages...
"It's good for us. It was someone that we understood their system and knew we would have an opportunity to get some good work in. They were someone that is like us. They're not as big inside and not as deep in their post area. It was a good test for us. There are areas where we have to get better defensively, really guarding the three-point line. Our rotations have got to get better on the defensive end of the floor. We knew it would be a challenge coming in anytime you implement a new system be it offensively or defensively, it's going to take time for guys to get acclimated to it. With the new offense that we've put in, execution is going to be a big part of what we have to do on a consistent basis. Anytime you've got new guys, a lot of times they'll revert back to habits. We've got to make sure through repetition that guys are getting used to what we're doing, and it will become second nature for them."
On starters for Monday's exhibition...
"We'll probably have a great chance of starting (Anthony) Hickey at the one, and Johnny (O'Bryant III) at the five. (Eddie) Ludwig would definitely be at the four spot for us right now. Andre Stringer has been really good at the two for us. It will depend on how healthy we are come Monday if anything will change by then."
On Malik Morgan's progression...
"He's very coachable. He's a young man that's eager to really learn. I can tell you that he's a lot further along in this short period of time than I thought he would be. It may be good for him in a sense because he's not trying to learn a different offense from what he would run last year in college. All of this is really new for him so he has been able to pick up on it for the first time. He has continued to improve with his strength. Size wise, he has gotten bigger and stronger. He has really adapted a lot quicker to the college game than I thought he possible could. He's a good shooter, He's consistent out there. I can say that he's an outside threat. He's very capable of making shots out there. He can create the shot as well. He has some athleticism that's there in terms of trying to get to the basket. He's long and rangy. I think he has become a little bit better defender. That's an area he'll have to continue to improve upon as well."
On Shavon Coleman's improvement...
"Unfortunately for Shavon, we have had him working inside and out. He's one of the few guys we have that we have that we're very comfortable working on the perimeter. We wanted him to possibly come in and play more small forward for us. He's been playing a lot of power forward; he's very capable of defending in there. He's long. He's quick off the floor, a good athlete. He's very capable of shooting the ball from outside, and he can put it on the deck as well. Shavon is more of the combo guy inside and outside. We are really impressed with him, and his energy level he plays in the way that each day that he comes to practice with the eagerness. The temperament he has come to practice with has helped our team as well."
On Anthony Hickey's tempo
"At times, we have to tell him (Hickey) to pick it up because it's a consistent deal for us in terms of how we are trying to get him to think. There may be games where we have to get him to slow down, but we want to get him pushing it more often than not. When you're doing that a lot, you do a lot of reps sometimes you try to find areas on the floor where you're going to get a break. When's a better time than when you have the basketball. I think that will help him once we actually start playing games. You have somebody that you know is going to be there and sharing time with him that will allow him to go full speed all the time."
"He's good in the open floor, he's extremely quick. He has a nice shot outside, and he's continuing to develop. He's a solid point guard, but he's one of those guys I think that is very capable of playing off the ball as well. It could be beneficial to him because of his speed and quickness, as well as giving him the ball in the lane and allowing him to make decisions. I think at some point during the year we will have an opportunity to play him and Corban Collins at the same time. I think that will really help us."
On Johnny O'Bryant III's progress...
"Johnny is more of a leader by example than he's been a vocal leader. I'm hoping that he can continue to develop in that area. He hasn't shied away from work, and he has been very coachable for us. Anytime that you bring something to his attention, he has tried to improve in that area. That is a great sign. I think Johnny has a tremendous future in front of him if he continues to grow. It's up to us (as coaches) to help continue to develop him.
"He has made some great strides since we got here in April. He asked our strength and conditioning coach to continue to work with him through the summer even when we were giving him time off. Up until this point, he has continued to get better. It's a scenario where it's going to have to be a constant for us with him because we are probably asking him to do some things that he hasn't had to do before. For him to be the best that he can be, conditioning is going to be a major part of his game. I think the better shape that he's in, the more confident player that he will become."
On the depth at the guard position ...
"It helps us a little bit because of our speed. I think sometimes people will try to take advantage of us because they'll look at us and maybe think sometimes our match-ups or guys in the game may not have the size. I think because we're having an opportunity to get down on the other end, it will be to our advantage at times because of our quickness and ability to shoot the ball from the outside."