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LSU head coach Trent Johnson
Photo by:Chris Parent, LSU Athletics Student Photographer
Basketball Holds First Fall Media Session
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Published: October 26, 2010, 04:14 PM (CT)
Updated: October 27, 2010, 05:13 PM (CT)
by Kent Lowe (@LSUkent), Sr. Associate SID

BATON ROUGE - With 10 practices under their belt, LSU men's basketball coach Trent Johnson and selected players met with the media Tuesday in the first pre-season media session of the 2010-11 season.

The Tigers will make their next public appearance on the floor of the Pete Maravich Assembly Center for the Purple-Gold scrimmage on Friday, Nov. 5 at 5 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. The season opener against Northwestern State is set for Friday, Nov. 12 at 7 p.m. at the PMAC.

Here are some of the comments made by Coach Johnson during his portion of Tuesday's media session:

Opening statement...
"We've had 10 practices. We are a little banged up. We had a concussion about two or three days ago with Eddie (Ludwig). Storm (Warren) has a shoulder problem. Justin Hamilton had a concussion. We are going to hold him out for two days. Other than that our intensity has been very good with the exception of one day. We're making a lot of progress. The freshmen are moving along at a pretty good rate. You have probably already heard, but due to a scheduling conflict, we were not able to scrimmage (Saturday). We will scrimmage on Saturday and go scrimmage on Sunday."

On the competitiveness the freshmen bring to practice...
"From a standpoint of them being good players, good people and good teammates, they are forcing other guys to play out of their comfort zone from a competitive standpoint, which is a good thing and will make us a better basketball team. Obviously, when you look at Aaron Dotson and Eddie Ludwig, who have been in the program and in the system for a year, they are a lot different players than what Matt Derenbecker, Ralston Turner, Andre Stringer and Jalen Courtney saw last year, but what I emphasized to them is they don't have a year to get to that point. We only have a month, but they are making progress. They are holding up physically and so far so good."

On if the injuries are a result of physical practices...
"Without question. Obviously from our team's standpoint defensively, we're going to build it with charges, build it with being able to help a man in a half (court), keep people out the lane, rotate and drop to the level of the ball ... so in order to do that you have to be committed, you have to be physical and you have to play with a purpose."

On how the team has been coming together so far...
"They are (coming together) like most teams at this time in the year. When you haven't played against anybody, there hasn't been any adversity, there haven't been any decisions made on who's playing, everybody is good. This appears to be a good group, and all those things will tell with time when there is some adversity and when we go up against some competition, but right now, this is a good group. It's a very willing, very coachable group."

On the leadership roles on this team...
"Certain guys, within their comfort zone, are starting to speak up and be more vocal, but again, it's early. One of the things that I mentioned earlier is this is going to take awhile. It's not like there is a returning guy that you can count on morning, noon and night socially, academically and athletically. Storm is a warrior in every sense of the word, but also, there is a lot of competition for him to be on the floor as many minutes as he was last year. I want this to be a thought out process. It's an honor; it's not a privilege to be voted on, but also, I want these guys moving forward to understand what the responsibility is. It doesn't mean you're the best player. It doesn't mean you're the point guard. It doesn't mean you're the leading scorer or the biggest, strongest or most vocal. There's a lot more that goes into being a leader and representing this basketball team going forward."

On if there are players who have shown abilities they didn't during the individual sessions...
"Yes and no. I say that from a standpoint of ... we were able to get 10 team practices, and basically a guy like Malcolm (White), when practices aren't going very well during the course of a period of a practice and the coaches become more vocal or yours truly gets upset, he plays harder and with a purpose, which is a good thing. Certain guys revert back to old habits. The young guys are in a position now where sometimes they listen and observe. It's going to take awhile, but right now, I wouldn't be doing my job, and it wouldn't be fair to this team if I were to make rash decisions without them being under the light. That's part of the process. Give it two weeks and see how guys emerge during the course of games. I have a pretty good feeling on how certain guys who have been in the program will react, and also, it's a new year and different combination of players. The young guys need to be given an opportunity to see how they react under fire."  

Season tickets and mini-plans remain on sale for the 2010-11 men's basketball season and individual non-conference game tickets will go on sale on Monday, Nov. 8. Information on tickets can be found at www.LSUtix.net.

The Tigers can be found on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/lsubasketball and on Twitter @LSUbasketball and @LSUCoachJohnson.

 

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