Jones Speaks to Media Prior to First Road Trip

LSU Men's Basketball
LSU Men's Basketball
Steve Franz
Kent Lowe (@LSUkent)
Kent Lowe (@LSUkent)
Communications Sr. Associate

BATON ROUGE - LSU head coach Johnny Jones met with the media on Wednesday as the Tigers prepared to leave early Thursday morning on an extended road trip that will take the Tigers to games at Boise State (Friday) and UC-Irvine (Tuesday, Dec. 18).

The Tigers and Boise State meet Friday at Taco Bell Arena at 7 p.m. MST (8 p.m. CST). The game will be broadcast on the LSU Sports Radio Network (Eagle 98.1 FM in Baton Rouge). There will be no television broadcast of the game, although video from Boise State's scoreboard cameras will be available to subscribers of the Geaux Zone.

Jones talked about many subjects including Tuesday night's win over UTC, the team's trip earlier in the day to visit the Children's Ward at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital, the status of Anthony Hickey and the challenges of playing on the road.

Here are some excerpts from the session:

Opening Statement
"After having an opportunity to look at the tape from last night's game, I was really pleased with our guys' effort, and the focus that they were able to maintain with the absence of (Anthony) Hickey out there and (Charles) Carmouche not available for the second half. I thought our guys were able to maintain their poise. They played extremely well and made the necessary plays down the stretch both offensively and defensively to get us through the game last night. Again, after a long layoff of 12 days, I thought that they played well with everything that was in front of them with of all of the distractions of being in school, studying and lack of practice. I thought they did an excellent job. We look forward to a great trip. These next two games on the road at Boise State and UC Irvine, coming home for a day or so and then leaving back out to go to Marquette will be very challenging for us. It's something we look forward to preparing for a great and tough conference schedule."

On Charles Carmouche's status...
"I won't know anything until later (Wednesday). I know we got a report he will be out today, he won't practice with us. I'm not sure in terms of the extent of his injury. I think it's more of a soreness that may be there. I don't think that there is anything that should prevent him from playing here in the future, but he won't practice with us today."

On the challenges of playing on the road...
"For instance in the Seton Hall game, I thought our crowd played a huge role in our comeback because our guys were able to feed off of our crowd. I thought the adrenaline; the crowd played a special role in that. When you're on the road, that's something that you have to guard against. You have to be a good enough basketball team that when a team makes a run on you, how are you going to handle that? When you're making a run against an opponent, how are you going to handle it? Especially being in the confines of a place that is a little bit different for you. When you're at home, you have the comfort of sleeping in your bed, being in your locker room and playing in front of your fans. When you're out there on the road, it's totally different. Your schedule is somewhat thrown off. It takes a disciplined team to be able to go through those things, remain focused and win basketball games. That's the sign of a good basketball team and growth when you're able to win on the road."

On if he has looked at or reflected on LSU's game against Boise State from last season...
"I think mostly it is going to be this year. Having the opportunity to watch those guys play, that's what I have to draw from what they've been able to do this year. Our style is a little bit different than what they would have played last year, and what they would have done offensively and defensively. I generally don't try to get ahead of myself. I'm generally a game-to-game person. Take for instance last night's game with Chattanooga, I want to make sure I give my full attention. Last night after the game, I would watch and review that game. Then, I pick up Boise State, and start watching and viewing them as well. I preach to our players one game at a time. I try to make sure I do that as well. Our assistant coaches, whoever has the scout, will do it in a great deal in advance. They will start working on it weeks ahead of time in terms of their preparation. But for me it's generally after our last game which would have been last night."

On Shavon Coleman and Johnny O'Bryant III's offensive abilities...
"He's capable, I think Shavon (Coleman) is shooting 30 to 40 percent, if not better from the three-point line so he's capable of stretching the defense. But he's a great slasher in getting into the gaps and making plays. We have to continue teaching him and continue working as a team in terms of recognizing the defense - when we're being double teams, or when we need to hit gaps. I think as we continue to improve in those areas, we'll continue to become a better basketball team as well. Johnny (O'Bryant III) is very strong, and he's powerful. A lot of times, he tries to play through some things. I think as he continues to get better and continues to grow as a player, I think we'll become a better team when he recognizes what the opposing team is trying to do to us defensively."

On Anthony Hickey's status...
"We had an opportunity to visit with him (Hickey) earlier (Wednesday). We're in the process right now, if everything goes according to plan. He's in a meeting right now. If things work out there, he will travel with us possibly this weekend. Whether or not he plays kind of remains and it depends of what will happen in terms of the meeting, but he will be traveling with us. I'm just waiting to hear back from the people he's meeting with right now (LSU Athletic Administration)." 

On visiting the hospital earlier this morning...
"Anytime I think you have an opportunity to reach out and do something for someone else, I always think its special. For our guys to go this morning to the children's hospital, and just see the smiles on the kids' faces when our players were talking to them - singing Christmas carols and giving them basketballs, signed posters and having the opportunity to visit with their friends. I think it brought a smile to the kids' faces. That always means something special because I know that they are making an impact and affecting the lives of someone else in a positive way. It was a good feeling to see that."

On the team's singing...
"I think they've played a lot better this year than they have in terms of their singing ability. I don't think anybody will have a chance to get on American Idol. I don't think any of my guys have to worry about that. They did do a great job in terms of being in unison and getting the kids to smile. I think they thought as the day was going on, they felt that they were getting better because they knew the lyrics without looking at the paper, but they didn't sound any better. They felt better about themselves singing it, but it was good. Their intent was well thought of."

On Boise State's performances early in the season ...
"I've seen enough of (Boise State) now in terms of studying what they do, and what they're capable of. They are a very good team. Leading up to this, I followed their games and their scores. They were able to beat Creighton at Creighton. Creighton is a top-15 team at the time. Their score at Michigan State was a very close and contested ballgame. They could have beaten Michigan State, which is a top-10 program that's out there. The only tough lost that they've had was against Utah. Utah shot 67 percent from the field in that game. Boise State is a very talented basketball team. It will be a great task for us and a great challenge for us. We look forward to it. I took my team (at North Texas) up there a few years ago with different coaches. It's a different environment up there (at Boise State), and they're excited about their basketball. It will be good for us."

On players making the most of their opportunities...
"If you look at Shavon Coleman, he hasn't stopped yet. He's continued to impress and improve. He's one of the true leaders of our team. If you look at Andre Stringer last night, a lot of people probably doubted him because he played more point guard I think as a freshman. I thought he showed his leadership qualities. They really stood out last night. He was really poised out there and made some tough plays. He had about three-four steals, four -five assists and shot the ball extremely well. He got us off to a great start. That's tough to do. You put him in that environment, something different and he hit the first shot of the game. Andrew (Del Piero) made a bucket then Andre came right back with a real quick lay-up and scored. He had five of our first seven points. He defended really well on the defensive end of the floor. He was probably a little more vocal last night than he has been in the past. That was his first start, and he took the challenge on and did a great job."

On Andre Stringer's role without scoring...
"(Stringer) didn't have a huge shot count last night. A lot of the times, you find guys that are shot hunting and most people say they're trying to be a scoring point (guard). I thought he allowed his game to come to him. Granted, he can take deep threes because he shoots them really effortlessly. I thought he did a great job in terms of distributing the basketball and making sure that he ran our team last night. I thought he was a great facilitator last night on the floor early one. I thought it made things even easier for Corban (Collins) when he was able to get in the game and especially when they were in the game together last night."

On Johnny O 'Bryant III and Andrew Del Piero's defensive improvements...
"Sometimes, Andrew can draw a touch assignment especially with the centers. That's generally where Johnny can get in trouble at because guys are playing at the rim. I think Andrew has done an excellent job of making people play up over top of him. I don't think people realize how strong Andrew is. I think he has done an excellent job in the weight room. Our strength and conditioning coach (Ricky Lefebvre) has really worked with him, and he has continued to get stronger. He's a load in there, that's helped Johnny who is trying to play more with his feet and less with his hands. He's (O 'Bryant III) making smart plays by getting his hands up instead of trying to swat down at the ball and making people play over him as well. The biggest thing about playing good solid post defense is trying to prevent the ball from coming into the post instead of allowing the guy to catch it and then trying to defend him. So we try to force guys off their spots and get them out of their comfort zones. That's one of the areas that Johnny has continued to improve in."

On lessons that can be learned from playing on the road...
"I think this is an ideal trip for us in preparing us for a tough SEC. I think (Boise State) in terms of their crowd and the atmosphere that they will have there will be similar to what we will face in the conference. This is a great challenge for us, and I think it is going to help us."

On limiting turnovers on the road...
"That's one of the things (turnovers) that you want to guard against especially with an inexperienced team playing on the road. People speeding you up, the tempo, taking care of the basketball is going to really be a priority for us. We will start (Andre) Stringer again at the point (guard) on Friday. We're hopeful that we're as successful on Friday as we were the other night in terms of taking care of the ball and (Stringer) being that facilitator and controlling the tempo. That's extremely tough on the road especially in a different environment like that."





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