Basketball's O'Bryant III to Return for 2013-14
Communications Sr. Associate
BATON ROUGE – With the words, “I’ve decided to return to LSU for my junior year” All-SEC forward Johnny O'Bryant III ended the speculation about his future and set the stage for LSU men’s basketball fans to look forward to the 2013-14 season.
The member of the coaches’ first team in 2013 was second in the league with 15 double doubles while averaging a team best 13.6 points per game (up 5.1 points from his freshman season) and 8.7 rebounds (up two rebounds from his freshman season). O’Bryant III averaged 14.7 points per game and 9.4 rebounds per game in SEC games after returning to full health after some nagging injuries in pre-conference play.
Twelve of his 15 double doubles came against league teams, including a string of five straight games and two runs of three games in succession. The Cleveland, Miss., native was the first LSU player to have five consecutive double doubles since former Tiger Glen Davis during the 2005-06 season.
He helped LSU go from an 0-4 start in the conference to a 9-9 record, just the seventh non-losing conference season record in the last 20 years.
He helped the Tigers under first-year coach Johnny Jones record a record of 19-12.
O’Bryant III finished the season No. 12 in overall scoring and No. 3 in rebounds and fourth in field goal percentage at 48.7 percent. His conference averages put him sixth in the league in scoring and second in the SEC in rebounds.
He posted 22 games this past season with double figure scoring of the 29 he played, giving him 34 over his first two seasons at LSU. He posted five games over 20 points topped by his career best of 30 at South Carolina on Feb. 14. He became the first player to score 30 points in a game for LSU since 2010.
He also scored 24 points versus Alabama (Feb. 23) and at Tennessee (Feb. 19); 22 at Alabama (Feb. 9) and 21 at Kentucky (Jan. 26). He had his career rebound best of 14 at Georgia (Jan. 19).
O’Bryant III showed his stamina when he played an amazing 51 minutes in the triple-overtime win in February against Alabama.
With the return of O’Bryant III, the Tigers presently have eight returning players including All-SEC defensive player Anthony Hickey and long-range shooter Andre Stringer along with Shavon Coleman and Malik Morgan.
The Tigers also signed one of the top classes in the country during the fall signing period including McDonald’s All-American Jarell Martin of Madison Prep in Baton Rouge; Georgia AAA Player of the Year Tim Quarterman of Savannah; four-star forward Jordan Mickey of Prime Prep in Arlington, Texas; and forward John Odo of Nigeria who enrolled in January and was able to practice with the squad during the spring semester.
Deposits are being accepted for full season tickets or mini-plans that will be announced at a later date for the 2013-14 LSU men’s basketball season. The deposits are just $13 at LSUtix.net or at 225-578-2184.
Follow LSU men’s basketball on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/LSUbasketball and on Twitter @LSUBasketball.
Here is a transcript of portions of today’s LSU men’s basketball press conference with Coach Jones and Johnny O'Bryant III:
JOHNNY O’BRYANT III
Opening Statement …
“First off all I want to thank you all for coming out. I want to thank God for allowing me to be in this position. I am thankful that He has given me the knowledge, strength and courage to make this decision. I made great strides from my freshman year and my sophomore year. None of this would have been possible without hard work, great teammates and Coach (Johnny) Jones. After praying and meeting with my family and Coach Jones, I have given it careful consideration. I have decided to return to LSU for my junior year.”
On the timeline of his decision …
“Me and Coach (Jones) talked last week with my family around last Wednesday. We made the decision then.”
On the decision process …
“The feedback was great. My family and I just thought it was the best decision for me to stay. We will have a great team next year. I will have better opportunities to grow as a player, so we decided to stay.”
On looking ahead to next season …
“I’m always an unselfish guy. I definitely thought about the team next year. We will have a great team next year. I think me coming back will help the guys. I think I have to be a leader to get that team rolling.”
On where he can make improvements for next season …
“I just have to be a better leader. I want to be a better leader. I want to improve on my conditioning, being in the best shape as possible next year, and just continue to stay consistent.”
On areas of improvement for next season …
“As a player you want to get better at everything. I am always trying to master my craft. I am going to try to work at everything: shooting, ball handling, knocking down shots and free throws.”
On next year’s team …
“It definitely helps me. It helps everybody. Seeing a team like Louisville with a bunch of great players who all get recognition. I think our team will be built like that. We will be a great team. You can go to anyone and get a bucket. It is going to help everybody.”
On being more of a leader next year …
“I think watching the (National Championship Game) last night really gave me chills. I am very excited about next year. We have a good recruiting class. My job is to lead them in the right direction and show them that anything is possible through hard work.”
On how the incoming class affected his decision…
“Jarell (Martin) is a great player. Jordan (Mickey) and Tim (Quarterman) are great players. They are all great players. But the decision came down to what I had to do for myself and my family.”
On how his teammates influenced his decision to stay for his junior season …
“A lot. I’m close to all of those guys. Those guys are my brothers. We’ve been through a lot of battles together. With me coming back, I want to win for those guys and get to the tournament. We’ve got guys like (Andre) Stringer, who’s going to be an upcoming senior and still hasn’t been to the dance. I just want to take those guys to the dance one time before I leave.”
LSU Head Coach Johnny Jones
“We are extremely excited about Johnny (O’Bryant III) returning and being a part of our team next season. The impact that Johnny made on our team this year and the attention he received in the later parts of the season speaks volumes about his future. I think it is a sign of maturity for him to process that type of information in a timely fashion and to come to a decision that he will need to be here to continue his growth. I think when you have an opportunity to have the type of option that he had because of the positive feedback he received, I think that says a lot about this basketball team and the program moving forward.”
On Johnny O'Bryant's progression throughout last season and moving forward to next season …
“Well, after visiting with Johnny, I think one of the things that is really important that he went through last year, because of being injured early on, was that when he was able to get himself in shape he could play more consistently down the stretch for us. I thought that’s where he had a lot of his success. When he gets himself in great condition, which he will, it’s going to really help him. I think decision-making is going to a process for him. That’s something that I thought he improved on a great deal last year. I thought he did a much better job as the season progressed in terms of playing one on one in the post with his back to the basket. He’s done a tremendous job in terms of facing up. The great thing that I admire him for is that he was able to buy in to how important it was for him to play with his back to the basket, going to the rim, putting pressure on our opponents and giving us an opportunity to get to the foul line, instead of settling for his jumper, which I something that I think he can be really consistent at as well. That’s something that we will look for him to do a little bit more of next year with the makeup of our team.”
On what it means for Johnny O'Bryant to return for his junior season …
“I think it’s really good for us. I think you’ve got to do a great job in terms of going out, recruiting and trying to bring new players in, but when you can keep a guy like a Johnny O’Bryant that makes the type of impact on the program and the team, I think it’s great. He’s a system guy. He understands what we’re doing. He’s here. The experience that he has and the leadership that he’ll have an opportunity to provide, I think, is big for us.”
On Johnny O'Bryant making his decision to return for his junior season...
“Well, it was the middle of last week. On Wednesday or Thursday of last week we had an opportunity to sit down in the office and talk. We had a lengthy visit at that time. When he told me what he felt like his plans were I was able to jump across the desk, put him in a big bear hug, cut his wind off for a little bit and I think I was able to express my excitement that way with him. We really had an opportunity to wait and give him an opportunity to think through the weekend if he was sure that this was exactly what he wanted to do. My biggest deal is that I always want my guys to do what’s best for them at the end of the day, what’s best for them and their family. I want to make sure that we give them the proper information and everything to have an opportunity to make a great, educated decision about their next move. So, his mom came in (Monday), and I had an opportunity to sit down with her, Johnny and one of his relatives. Once again we had another lengthy visit, and at the same time, he was at the same decision. So, that allowed us to go ahead and move forward (Tuesday) to make sure that we put it out there. I had been asked quite often, and not a day went by that I wasn’t in some type of setting that they were asking about Johnny O’Bryant, our team from last year and our recruiting. Johnny’s been a big story, and that was one of the things that we got out as soon as possible.”