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Jones Recaps First Four Basketball Practices
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Published: October 17, 2012, 06:10 PM (CT)
by Kent Lowe (@LSUkent), Sr. Associate SID

BATON ROUGE - LSU men's basketball Coach Johnny Jones discussed his first four practices for his team since opening practice on Friday evening.

The Tigers practiced Friday and Saturday on the opening weekend and resumed practice on Monday in preparation for the 2012-13 season which begins on Nov. 9 at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center against UC Santa Barbara.

Tickets for the 2012-13 season are still available at LSUtix.net. Follow LSU Basketball on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/LSUBasketball and on Twitter @lsubasketball.

Here are some of Coach Jones' comments prior to Wednesday's practice:

Opening statement ...
"We're excited, we started practice on Friday. I thought we had a very spirited workout on Friday. We came back on Saturday and tried to improve on that. I gave the guys off on Sunday, which is one of the days we try to get off during the week and use as our day off. Then we're able to come back on Monday. One of the big things we're trying to do early on with the practices have been to get our guys to understand the tempo and the pace of practice. We want to try and make sure that our level is as such the way that we play. We're trying to implement our system in just a short time because we'll obviously be playing here in less than a month. Those things have been important to us, but our guys responded well. We obviously have a ways to go in trying to implement our system. The guys are getting to know us and making sure that we get everything in in a timely fashion. The work has been there. I think the effort has been there, and the focus has been there. It's something that we're excited about. We'll feel like we will get to the point to where we're trying to get together, but it's obviously going to take us quite some time."

On practicing with 11 players ...
"I think it helps because in a game, generally, you get your timeout after every four minutes. We have timeouts that we will use on our own, and there are certain dead ball situations that you'll have an opportunity to utilize as well. We'll try to remove some of that in practice. When we get in scrimmage situations, we try to put more time on the clock. We try to shorten the time of our breaks so we will be ready to play. I think it's going to help them. When you get in a game situation, now you've got someone to come in and sub for you. We don't have that leisure or luxury to have people to sub in or sit them at times at practice that they can get a break. I think it will be beneficial at the end of the day provided that we stay healthy."

On the differences that forwards Shavon Coleman and Shane Hammink provide ...
"I think both guys are going to be good players for us. I think with Shavon (Coleman), the edge that Shavon has is the fact that he's been in college before. He's played in junior college for a couple of years. He's older, and I think that helps him because of the fact that he's stronger. He understands the college game a little bit. I think just like any freshman, Shane (Hammink), has fallen under the same deal that any other freshman that transitions from high school into college. The speed of the game, how physical the game is, that's something that he will have to make the adjustment to. I'm extremely confident that he will make a great adjustment to that. I've seen strides and changes in Shane during the short time that he's been with us. Shavon's an extremely quick jumper around the basket. He plays with a sense of urgency every play. He's capable of playing inside and outside. He's shown some leadership as well on this team. I've been really happy with the presence that Shavon has shown on the floor. Shavon's extremely competitive on both ends of the floor. He's not a guy that goes out hunting for shots. He's a really strong team guy, and he tries to stay within the system. From the time that I've had him here, I can tell that he's a winner. That's important for us to have guys like that on the floor."

On team personality ...
"It's still a work in progress. I think we've got a ways to go before we can really determine that. I think a lot of times they'll take on the attitude, mentality or personality of their coach. I hope I'm able to reach those guys. A lot of times, that will go through your guard play. I think I have a couple of guards out there that we can rely and depend on that will be an extension of me on the floor. I'm hopeful that through our practices in the coming weeks that I will have an opportunity to learn more about them."

On coming back to LSU ...
"It's been great. I can tell you that it's been somewhat of a whirlwind. We've been busy from day one. Some people ask, 'How much have you enjoyed your time?' Well, there's been really no down time where it's just enjoyment being here and being excited about coming to LSU to go to work every day. The basketball portion for us has been just like anything else. We knew coming in there was going to be work. Had I stayed there at the University of North Texas where they'll have a really good team and somewhere where I've been for the last 11 years, it was going to be work. That's what we do, that's what it's a part of. That's something that we really embrace as an opportunity to go out and try to get better each day. That's what we do every day that we come to campus, trying to get better in terms of our recruiting. We're trying to make sure that we get these players that we have on this present team better. We're trying to make sure that we can get the crowd and our fan base excited. There are a lot of things that go into trying to build a program and get it on solid footing. We try to take advantage of that every day."

On forward Jalen Courtney ...
"Unfortunately, the things that have hampered him (Courtney) from having an opportunity to stand out are the same things that he's going through now. He's been down and hampered with injury. I think Jalen has a lot to offer. I think he has some leadership ability and great qualities. But because of his lack of time on the floor, he's doing individual skill work because of injuries. He's had to miss some practices now due to setbacks caused by injuries. I think he has a lot to offer. I know he's been overshadowed, and other guys have had an opportunity to play in front of him. Unfortunately, he hasn't had an opportunity to play or practice for an extended amount of time for me to make that assessment for him."

On forward Eddie Ludwig ...
"I can tell you he's one of the guys that I've been most impressed with over the short time that we've been together as a team. I think Eddie (Ludwig) has really stepped up. He's had some tremendous practices, and he's graded out well in our practices. I think when you look at (Anthony) Hickey and Johnny O' Bryant III, both guys have shown some great signs that they're on the right (track). The other guy that's really been a pleasant surprise is Eddie. In our team situations, in our practices, in our scrimmages and the way that he's played and the contributions that he's made, I'm hoping that will continue for us. I don't rule him out in terms of being a starter, and I think that speaks well of what he's been able to do in this short time. If he can continue playing the way that he's played, he can be a great contributor to the basketball team this season."

On his up-tempo style of play...
"At the end of the day, I think that's what it's all about with college athletics and these young kids. One, they should have a great experience on campus. They should enjoy (everything). I think one of the big things you try to do is make sure they have tremendous experience playing the game that they love, and that they will embrace what they've worked for all their lives. I think the other thing is to make sure that you put a product on the floor that you're fan base can be proud of and are excited to come watch. That's dear and really something that's special to me. At the end of the day, we want to make sure that they are entertained and that we give them something they could be proud of and are excited to come out and watch. I think because of the way that we can play, and I know what up tempo basketball will do. It's exciting, it's fun and it's very challenging. I think your fans can really get into it. I really enjoy coaching that way, being a part of it. I know as a player, I enjoyed playing that way. I enjoy watching it, and I think fans really enjoy watching that style of play. That's one of the reasons that I enjoy putting that type of product out on the floor because of our fan base."

On center Andrew Del Piero ...
"Andrew (Del Piero) is on scholarship now. When we came back to school, because of the work that he had put in and his commitment to what we were doing. Andrew being a senior and what he's going through, I just thought it would be fitting if a scholarship was awarded to him. We put him on scholarship. He was always like one of the other guys. The big difference now is that he's on full scholarship."

 

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