Men's Basketball
2012-13 LSU Men's Basketball
Photo by:Steve Franz, LSU Athletics Staff Photographer
Jones Wraps Up First Basketball Season at LSU
Text smallerText larger
Published: March 19, 2013, 03:17 PM (CT)
by Kent Lowe (@LSUkent), Sr. Associate SID

BATON ROUGE - LSU men's basketball coach Johnny Jones put the wraps on the 2012-13 men's basketball season by sitting down with local and area media to discuss his team and what lies ahead for the Tigers.

LSU finished its inaugural season under Jones at 19-12 and 9-9 in the Southeastern Conference, just the seventh non-losing season in the league in the last 20 years.

Here are some of the comments this afternoon from Coach Jones:

Opening statement ...
"I'm really proud of our guys and the type of season that they had. I thought from start to finish they gave a tremendous effort. Something as a coach that you look for from your team is how hard they're playing, buying in and the passion that they have an opportunity to play with. I thought we were able to get that from our guys this year. I was very disappointed at the end. I think at the end of the day, coaches' dreams are always having an opportunity to compete at the highest level. Cutting down nets, hanging banners, ordering championship rings, at the end of the day I think is extremely special. You always want the opportunity to compete at that level to make those things happen. We were denied of that opportunity with the tremendous group of guys that I thought had played the type of basketball that would give them an opportunity to play post season. Unfortunately it didn't happen. It's disappointing for our seniors, guys who had an opportunity to put that uniform on for the last time, compete and play here. I think at the same time it gives the guys that are returning a great deal of focus and motivation moving forward to try not to be in that position moving forward."

On the possibility of players leaving early ...
"I have no indication or expectations of any of that. I think if you're referencing Johnny O'Bryant III, there are hard dates set out there for early entry and any of those things. We will do the same thing I've done in the past with guys. I had a young man last year that was projected as a lottery pick. We gathered the information from the NBA, Stu Jackson, and sent the necessary information to them. They consult with teams and counsel on their end, and they send you back information that I think is really good for the young men to have an opportunity to make a good, solid, sound and educated decision. When they get that information back to you, you have an opportunity to meet with whoever is helping you in terms of making your decision. I think at that time you'll either know whether you're going to be drafted, a lottery pick, a first round pick or projected to be in the second round. We'll do the same thing with Johnny. We've already actually sent that type of information forward, and we're hopeful that we'll get it back sometime in early April."

On the possibility of Johnny O'Bryant III leaving early ...
"I told Johnny O'Bryant yesterday that I want him to make sure that he has an opportunity to evaluate the information once he gets it back and has an evaluation from the league where he's projected, if projected at all. At that time, I want him to make the best decision for him and his family. The best decision for him and his family could be putting on an LSU uniform next year. So, he'll have some time in the early part of April to make a good, solid, sound decision that's going to help him moving forward. "

On being proactive with recruiting ...
"Being in the business for a number of years, I think it's always important that regardless of what's going on, you always want to be recruiting because you never know. Injuries, transfers or anything could possibly happen, so you always want to be on the aggressive side in terms of recruiting. Be proactive in terms of recruiting. If something doesn't happen you can always back off of it, but it's extremely hard to get in late in terms of recruiting because of someone transferring, leaving or whatever. So, we're always being proactive in terms of our recruiting, and we'll remain that way."

On the newcomers possibly making a difference ...
"Absolutely. I think (Tim) Quarterman, Jarrell Martin and Jordan Mickey all are very capable of defending on the perimeter and will give us an added dimension of what we can do defensively. I look forward to that opportunity."

On what's next for Anthony Hickey ...
"I think Anthony (Hickey) had an overall really good, solid year. I think he just needs to continue to grow as a player in his development. Talking about on the floor, that's improving running his team and his game as well. I thought he did some great things this year. He led the league in steals this past season, and I thought he developed and became a better defender. I thought he put an emphasis on trying to run his team and quarterback the team. I thought that was a big positive and plus for him, and I think he will continue to grow in those areas as a player. So, we're excited for Anthony and looking forward to next year with him."

On the addition of John Odo next season ...
"I think John's (Odo) probably coming in more developed on the defensive end. I think he was one of the nation's leaders in terms of shot blocks and rebounding in junior college. I think coming in first and second in those respective areas. I think that's something that's needed. I think he will continue to develop on the offensive end to be able to give us some solid minutes. I think that's going to be part of his development, and that's something that he's capable of doing, but I think his defense is definitely ahead of his offense right now."

On one moment during the season that shined light on the rest of the season ...
"I think the Seton Hall game may have been one of the things I thought was extremely encouraging. When we were down 16 or so points and the way the guys continued to fight, battle back and have an opportunity to win that basketball game, I always thought that was a marker or something we could point to throughout this season an reference what was possible of happening. We were able to do that in several of the games this year. So, I think when you look back at that game, I thought that helped us."

On electing not to participate in any other post season tournaments after not being selected to NCAA or NIT ...
"Well, those things happen pretty quick, and you're sitting there as a group hoping that your name is going to show up and you're going to be on there in that national tournament. The NCAA and the NIT are two big and competitive tournaments that are out there. I think it really depends on the makeup of your team and what you're trying to get accomplished at that time. I thought the NIT would present a great challenge for us, provided you don't make the NCAA Tournament. I thought the way that our guys were here that if it weren't one of those two tournaments right now it would probably be it for us in terms of the season, especially the number of games. The way that they've competed in those games, I thought they were attractive enough in those two tournaments. So, we just really thought that at that time our focus probably needed to be elsewhere. The way that this team is made up, if it wasn't one of those two, it probably wouldn't be beneficial to keep trying to move forward just to be in postseason play."

On having a versatile post game ...
"I think versatility is always good. Anytime you have guys like (Erik) Murphy in the post and then step out, open the lane up and be a threat from the perimeter is always good. So, I think if you have the ability to have the versatility in your post guys, and they can step out and shoot, open up the lane as well as post, play with their back to the basket, it gives you an added dimension and something extremely tough to scout against. I think that's why Florida has had as much success as they've had this year. They've had the ability to do that. If you have a really good back to the basket scoring post it makes it tough to really jump down there and really double team him. You give him a lot of one on one opportunities if you can open up the lane. I thought it benefitted us in the Georgia game utilizing Shavon Coleman in that spot. When he wound up knocking down a bunch of threes it opened up the lane for us and allowed people to go down there and try to double, but he got a bunch of open looks because of it."

On newcomer Jarrell Martin ...
"He can play the three. He's capable of playing the four. He's got size and strength to do both. I think he's a very versatile player, because he's capable of handling, passing it and a great perimeter shooter out there. So, he has the ability to play some three as well."

On next year's schedule ...
"We're playing in a Thanksgiving tournament in Orlando. There are some really good, top tier teams in there, Oklahoma State, Memphis, Purdue, Butler, I think Washington State as well and Sienna. So, that's going to be a really good tournament for us to have an opportunity to participate in the early part of the season. It will be really challenging for us. The good thing is the people in this room, me included, don't just want us to play that schedule. They want us to win it. You just lining up against those teams is really not enough. At the end of the year you want W's on the side instead of L's. It helps you, hopefully in the latter part of the season, when you do well in those types of events. If you don't, you can get off to a bad start. So, it will be a good challenge for us."

On the way things played out in the conference ...
"I don't think the selection committee has any idea of who played in a tournament or who did what in the beginning of the year. I don't subscribe to the fact that the SEC was down this year. As a matter of fact, I think it was extremely competitive and really looked at the wrong way. I think you look at Florida, what they were able to do. They went 14-4 in our league. Kentucky, a team who won a national championship a year ago, went 12-6 and came in second place. That doesn't mean that the league was down. You have a team that was projected to be in the Final Four a year ago in Missouri. They wound up going 11-7 in your league with the great group of their players back from a year ago. That doesn't mean the Big 12 was down because they went 11-7 in this league. I thought you had teams in this league that were very challenging, extremely tough to beat on the road. I don't think people look at the ACC and consider it to be a down year because someone without the name North Carolina or Duke won the league. Unfortunately, you get a team in that league that won the regular season and the conference title and they don't get a number one seed. It's tough for me to imagine it. You get two teams with No. 2 seeds in Duke and Miami. If Miami's not good enough to get a No. 1 seed after winning it, you don't hear of that as much. You take Florida; if they win the championship they're a No. 1 seed possibly in the NCAA Tournament. They lose the championship to Ole Miss, whom some people thought had to win the tournament just to get in. Is that a bad league? I don't subscribe to that. I thought the league was extremely competitive. I thought it was tough. I just think we have to do a better job of making sure that people know that."

On the team's expectations for next year ...
"Well, I don't really get caught up in that. I think the thing for us is that our expectations are always possibly higher than anyone's. We always want to excel, do well and compete at the highest level. That's important for us. Just like the beginning of this year, we'll go out and do everything that we can each day to try to improve, get better and be the best that we can be. We won't ever jump out there and tell you what we feel like our record will be. So, that type of pressure really doesn't exist for us. I don't put it on our players to perform under that, but they want to perform at the highest level. Looking back, nobody would have told them that they were going to be 9-9. Nobody would have believed that they would win 19 games. So, the challenges are out there. Again, I think they put more pressure on themselves to perform at the highest level. So, that's not something we get caught up in."

On the approach to next season ...
"Well, I like to think that these were my guys because I had the privilege of coaching them this year. I will have some additional guys on the team next year. I'm hopeful that all of them are considered our guys. I know what you mean, but I wasn't waiting until our recruiting class came in. To your point, I think it'd be more of what we're capable of doing in longer periods of time because of the depth that our team will have this coming year. I think we'll have more bodies out there and guys not having to play so many extended minutes. I think if you look at our game against Georgia, you have guys going out there and playing 30 plus minutes, and high 20's. You turn around and play a fresh team like Florida. I think they have a chance to exploit some things about you when you play like that, and the team has that type of depth with them. So, I think with the depth that we'll have you'll see a lot of what we did this year, but able to do it hopefully at a more competitive and higher level, over 40 minute spans in games."

On freshman continuing to grow after their first season ...
"I'm hopeful that they continue to grow. I thought Malik Morgan did an excellent job of continuing to excel and getting better this year. I thought Corban Collins played well in our last game there against Florida with the minutes that he was provided. It was tough for him getting in a lot of games for him, because of the injury that he sustained against Georgia early in the season, in terms of conference play and playing behind (Anthony) Hickey. I think (Shane) Hammink probably had the toughest time in terms of transition and coming over. I think his late arrival during the summer could have had a lot to do with it. He was trying to play with one of the national teams over there. So, I'm hopeful that them going through the summer with individual skill work, our strength and conditioning program, and having an idea of the type of system that we run, that all of them will have an opportunity to continue to grow."

On summer ball ...
"I think that's huge for us. They have an opportunity to be playing during the summer and working out. One of the things that you want encourage or impress upon them is that when you're out there participating and playing so-called pickup or whatever that you understand how we're going to play. We need to try to stay as close to that as we possibly can to get better in working on the individual game and playing with each other. I think that allows you to grow. When you have guys that understand what you're looking for and what you want, I think they can communicate with each other the challenges that it will have an opportunity to present. I think with the freshmen coming in, understanding how hard you're going to have to play and the intensity level that you're going to have to play with all the time to be successful is very beneficial."

On the impact of guys like Brandon Bass and Marcus Thornton playing with the team in the summer ...
"I think it helps tremendously, because I think competition level is extremely tough. You're talking about competing against guys that are playing at the highest level. Then, our players have an opportunity to see how hard those guys are playing. Everybody in the gym will want to get to that point in playing with those guys. So, I think it really benefits them to see that caliber of play and those type of guys in the gym on a daily basis working out and have an opportunity to play against them. They either know how far away they are or how close they could be if they continue to work hard."

On Andrew Del Piero considering playing at the next level ...
"I definitely think it's something he will try to pursue. I think that there's definitely a place for him playing professionally, more so probably overseas or somewhere because of his size, length and strength that he has. I think that he's only scratched the surface of what he possibly could do and what he could be. I think he has a newfound passion and love for the game, and he wants to excel at it. He's a very bright young man, and I think through working out and competing in individual skill work that some great things could be in store for him in the future."

Looking back at his first season ...
"Well, I would like to think that our first year here was deemed a success with all of the things that were in place when you talk about the late entry in terms of Justin Hamilton leaving. We had transfers and kids leave out for different reasons, to graduation. The nucleus of the team came back. I got the job back in April and had to get on the road and recruit and do all those things. Looking at where the team was last year with those caliber players that were out there, and where we were in this league this year, I'd have to think it was an overall success at the end of the day. Would we have loved to do more? Absolutely."

On his assistant coaches ...
"There's always a possibility of a shake-up. You want to think they're going to get shook up. No, I've been very blessed and very fortunate to have a tremendous staff here. I think that's one of the big things and great assets that we've had. Charlie's (Leonard) been with me for 13 years or 14 years now. He was with me at Memphis, North Texas, and now here. Then, having someone like Robert Kirby who I've known for a long time in the position that he's in. Then, David Patrick has been a great addition to our staff. Tom Kelsey working as an ops guy and knowing the basketball background. I thought we were able to put together a great staff. I'm always just like players. We want our guys to have an opportunity to be attractive because of what we're doing. I'm hopeful that at some point all of those guys will have an opportunity to be head coaches somewhere at this level. That's something that you always push for and strive for. When that time comes and presents itself, I'm hopeful that these guys will get an opportunity to run their own team as well."

On the signees and the clearinghouse ...
"They all are in the clearinghouse. You won't find out until you get their final transcripts. I'm hopeful that everybody is on target to do what they need to. We're hopeful that those guys will be here in June."

On analyzing the previous year and looking ahead to the next season ...
"Well, at the end of the year you have to kind of analyze where you are and the team and program in terms of continual growth. I think that's always important. I just haven't had that time yet because we're still in the middle of recruiting and just met with the guys yesterday. We're still processing everything. I will definitely go through that during this offseason and figure out some areas that we can continue to improve and get better. There are obviously areas that you want to always look for and that present a challenge for you. Learning from Coach Brown, and having an opportunity to visit with John Wooden with him on occasions, it's important that you're always looking to continue to improve and get better in areas. They say when you're through improving you're through. I'm a firm believer of that. I think there are areas that we can definitely continue to try to get better. We'll assess that at a later date for sure."

On his first season as head coach ...
"I'll tell you, I thought it went a lot smoother than expected. You just never know coming in because I'm very familiar with Baton Rouge and the media and everyone else that's here. I was at the University of North Texas and came in here and played. I didn't know what to expect at that time. Coming back as the head coach, not realizing or no knowing what to expect. I think things have been really good, and I think the media and everyone included is really getting excited about talking about our fan base, how important they are and how they continue to come out. One of the things I talked to our team about when I first got the job is having an opportunity to watch our fan base grow, because I had an opportunity to come in here and play and watched numerous games on TV. When you talk about your students, your fan base and growth and you watch all those things. Then, the media has been really good and covered us extremely well. They were very fair throughout their assessment of what we were doing and what we weren't doing this year. That was a real good positive. So, it's everything I thought it would be and more."

On Northwestern State and Southern being in the NCAA Tournament ...
"I'll tell you, I've known Mike (McConathy) since I was an eighth grader. In high school he was a counselor at a camp. He was still there at Louisiana Tech. I admired him as a player when he played there and when he was a coach I always followed him. I always thought that he's done a tremendous job. After his game, and I saw that he was in I was able to text him, and we text back and forth. I'm really happy for Mike. Both of those guys are really good coaches. Same thing with Roman Banks, I've known him for a really long time. I was really pulling for them this year. He's running a successful program there at Southern University. I'm really happy for him. Both of those guys, regardless of how it shakes out, for them to have an opportunity to win your league and put yourself in this type of position, I think it speaks volumes for the type of job that they've done for their respective schools. I can assure you that it's been a challenge for both of those guys at the institutions where they are in terms of getting their teams in, because there are good teams in their league. To be able to come in first place like that after just tough years, it says a lot about them. Mike McConathy has been doing it for a long time. When we played them this year, I actually thought and said so much to our team that they would be in the NCAA Tournament this year. They're an NCAA Tournament caliber team, and he held me true to my word. So, I was excited for him. They're a good team, and they're dangerous."

On Northwestern State Head Coach Mike McConathy ...
"He's one of the neatest and one of the greatest guys I've ever been around. I think Mike has a lawn cutting business and a striping business, where they do lines in parking lots, and he's right there in the middle of it during his offseason. That's just who he is, what he's about and he's a tremendous basketball coach. He loves it. He has a passion for what he does. You're right; he doesn't ever draw any attention or anything to himself. He's just a great guy."

On Northwestern State facing Florida in the first round of the NCAA Tournament ...
"They've got a tough task in front of them, but I mean they came in here and played us when we had them down and they made a great run toward the end of the game, and they got back in the game. They're a seasoned basketball game, and he does a great job. They have depth on their team, so it will be a fun game to watch."

On the non-conference schedule next season ...
"We've got some scheduling done. Some of it stems back from a year ago or so, prior to getting here. There are possibilities that we will have to be returning games on the road. That's something that we will definitely have to look at as well. We're in the middle of working out and fine tuning some contracts and we're hopeful. It's really tough to get some of the home and home schedules. A lot of people don't like going on the road. I don't think Syracuse leaves their building until conference play, unless they go to a neutral site somewhere, and they may do that once. So, it's tough when you're in a conference like this. I think the conference is still working on one of the challenges, one of their BCS type conferences as well, that would be attractive to us as well. I want to make sure that we get a good couple of other games here at home that would be attractive to our fan base. At the same time, we want to make sure that we play a challenging schedule, and one that's fair for our team. We'll have a lot of new guys next year, and our schedule needs to give us an opportunity to look at those guys, see them in a different light and playing in some game prior to conference play starting. That's something that you always have to take into account. So, you have to have really good balance in your schedule."

 

ABC Insurance
Uploaded Ad
Flores MBA Program
The Cook Hotel and Conference Center
Visit Baton Rouge