Jones, Basketball Start Fourth Week of Practice

Before practice, coach Jones and the Tigers held a student block party.
Before practice, coach Jones and the Tigers held a student block party.
Steve Franz
Kent Lowe (@LSUkent)
Kent Lowe (@LSUkent)
Communications Sr. Associate

BATON ROUGE – LSU men’s basketball coach Johnny Jones met with the media Tuesday as his Tiger teams began its fourth week of practice in preparation for the team’s public exhibition game on Nov. 6 against Xavier (New Orleans).

The Tigers open Jones’ second season as head coach at LSU on Nov. 12 at UMass in the ESPN Tipoff Marathon.

Jones talked about the developing chemistry of the team, dividing up the minutes at various positions and some of the new officiating rules the team has seen in its recently refereed scrimmage action.

The Tigers will put some of their practice on display Wednesday to LSU students, beginning at 4:30 p.m. LSU students are to enter through the lower Southeast Corridor.

Season tickets for the 2013-14 men’s basketball season remains on sale starting at $100 and several mini-plans for the season are also available for as low as $39. Ticket information is available at and the LSU Athletics Ticket Office.

Follow LSU Basketball on Facebook at and on Twitter @LSUBasketball.

Here are some of Coach Jones’ comments from Tuesday’s media session:

LSU Men’s Basketball Media Session – October 22, 2013
Head Coach Johnny Jones

Opening Statement…
“I’m really excited now that practice has started. We’re working but watching how the experienced guys that returned from last year’s team have taken on some leadership roles with the very talented, young group of guys that have arrived on campus. Our mission is to try to make sure that we can get our chemistry together as early as possible to allow us to compete at a certain level. The one thing we haven’t had to worry about is the intensity level with this basketball team. These guys have come with a sense of urgency each day at practice. They’ve competed, and we obviously have a long way to go. One of the things we were concerned about early on was trying to teach and get the young guys to understand their importance of playing with a certain sense of urgency. I think they’ve done a really good job of adapting and leadership from our older guys has really helped us a great deal. That’s something that we are certainly excited about and looking forward to this weekend. We’re having a scrimmage and are looking forward to that as well.”

On how the younger players have challenged the veterans …
“They are challenging each other each day which is a big plus for us. The young guys have come in, and they have tried not to take a back seat to anyone. Respectively they have come in, and each day they have tried to really put their best foot forward. They’ve been able to do that, and I think that it has allowed for us to hopefully be a little bit ahead of what we thought we’d be, possibly, at this time. They’ve really challenged our upperclassmen.”

On installing a half-court offense…
“We’ve implemented some of our half-court offense, a lot of the basic parameters of our offense be it certain sets that we generally run. The guys have done a tremendous job with that. Now, we obviously have a long way to go in terms of executing at the level that we would like to. But in terms of the offense getting installed and the guys having an understanding of it, we’re there. We are just a ways away from executing at the level that we need to compete. One, we are going to have to grind you and make certain that we want to shoot the highest percentage shot as we possibly can get. That being said if it’s around the rim, be it Johnny (O’Bryant III) or one of the other post guys, certainly we’ll do that. That would put pressure on the defense, or the opposing team, but we have guys that are very capable outside as well. We will try to get people to help inside, and it will give us easy looks outside. Hopefully, Johnny (O’Bryant III) will get some one-on-one matchups inside which will really be beneficial to us because I think it will give a lot of high percentage scoring opportunities.”

On his reaction to being picked fourth in the SEC at SEC Media Days…
“We thought we’d be in the middle there somewhere. Fourth, I was really happy for the young men on our team. I thought the way that they played last year; the way that they finished out, I think the media and our fan base had an opportunity to see that. I think that’s a good sign. I really applaud them for their efforts at the end of the day so we are really excited about that. But they understand that we have a lot of work to do. For them to be recognized for their efforts that they put in at the end of last year and with Johnny (O’Bryant III) returning, I think it says a lot.”

On what’s most notable on the new rules and impacting play …
“I think the scoring will certainly go up because you can’t defend and be as aggressive as you were before. One, the on-ball defender or help side ball defender rotating over there trying to get in the way to take a charge. We feel like anytime you get in the half-court game, things speed up. We winded up having officials here on Friday, and I think our guys did a pretty good job in terms of adjusting. That’s playing against each other, understanding the offense and possibly knowing where screens are coming from and what screens that you’re going to have to beat so you’re a little bit more prepared for it. Playing someone else, I think things are going to be a little bit different because of the way that the game is played. You don’t know your opponent as well, certain moves that they’re going to make. You’re trying to recover and get back in front of them. But I think on the other end of the floor, it’s to our advantage as well because we have really quick guys who are excellent ball handlers that could possibly get inside a defense as well and force people to have to help. I think it’s going more toward the NBA style in taking away that charge so much inside because when guys gather to the basketball now they end up going toward the basket. If you still move in front of them, they’re still going to call a block on you instead of a charge where before if you got in a legal guarding position, then it would be a charge that time. It’s the kind of adjustment our guys are going to have to make. Instead of trying to take a charge, we are going to have to challenge the driver whether it’s blocking the shot or trying to get him under control and making him take lower percentage shots.”

On the effect of Jarell Martin playing the small forward position…
“It gives you an opportunity to play a little bit differently. On the defensive end, you can switch. Offensively, you can post other guys and force other teams to play a certain way. If you’ve got Jarell in the game, be it with Johnny (O’Bryant III), Jordan Mickey or Darcy Malone could be in there with that group as well or John Odo, you can actually put Malik Morgan at the two and Tim [Quarterman] at the one. That’s a pretty big team, or put Shavon Coleman at the two. It makes for a very active and long team when we can go big with that combination of guys.”

On the response of the fans getting involved before the season starts…
“It’s good, what we’re actively doing along with the women’s basketball team is trying to reach out to our fan base and make sure we invite them in early. We want to make sure that we are not waiting until conference play for a lot of teams to come in. We want them from the beginning to be here and to be on board. We think we have done a tremendous job in preparing for the season and the way that both teams finished last year, we’re hoping that on the front end that we do a great job of getting our fan base out. We’re just reaching out to them in every way, and they’ve been very receptive as well.”

On Jordan Mickey’s game …
“Tremendous shot-blocking ability because of his seven-foot, three and a half inch wingspan. He’s really quick out there on the floor, really poised for a freshman on both ends. Offensively, he’s really poised with the basketball. He has really sleek moves to the basket and the ability to score, step away and knock down jumpers. He is a really good passer for a post guy. Jordan has really continued to improve each day, and he’s certainly been a bright spot for us.”

On changing the way to teach aggressive guys like Anthony Hickey
“It’s certainly not just playing with your hands. They (the officials) tell it’s almost like a hot stove mentality. You know you can touch when you initially get out there, but you have to get your hands off quick. You have to be careful about the number of times because they are going to continue warning you out there in playing. It’ll be some adjustments. You’ll certainly be playing more with your feet and not with your hands, trying to recover. It’s something our guys are going to adapt and adjust to. I think when you press that has a tendency of happening. You just have to try to make some adjustments out there and then understanding that with traps, you don’t have to play as much with your hands on guys. It’s more trying to trap men and get deflections on the ball. Then, trying to recover out of that is the problem because a lot of the times people get numbers on you if they break the trap on the other end of the floor. We’ll certainly have to make some adjustments.”

On the reaction to the newcomers…
“When you look at Tim Quarterman, he’s done a tremendous job just from day one. He’s been out there on the floor and developing into a really nice leader. Players love playing with him, and he’s done a really good job of fitting in. We all knew about Jarell Martin, but I think Jordan Mickey is one of those guys that has excelled each day and continued to get better, Darcy Malone as well. John Odo has really continued to improve so there’s improvement from all of those guys from the first day they’ve been on campus. Through the skill-work and development, they have continued to get better. It’ll be nice to get to see them against some other type of competition here soon. I’ve been very pleased with where we are right now.”

On Tim Quarterman and Anthony Hickey playing on the court together…
“I’m not sure how much we’ll have them on the floor together. There may be some times that we’ll have them out there. Both of those guys now, Hickey is the primary point guard. When you look at the presence of Tim out there on the floor, he’s really a solid point guard and really effective from that spot. He has ability to play off the ball and maybe at the two or the three, but we have a number of guys on the team right now, when you talk about being able to play the wing from Malik Morgan, Shavon Coleman, Jarell Martin can be out there as well, Andre Stringer and Shane Hammink. So, we’ve got a number of guys out there that are capable of playing the two and the three spot. And so, that point (guard) is going to be really, really important for us. Our problem is trying to find a third point (guard) out of this group, someone else that can move over there just in case be it injury, foul trouble, depth at that spot. He [Andre Stringer] could be that guy. He can spot us there at times and be able to play out there. He’s had that role before, but he’s shot the ball so well. You would hate to disturb that role that he’s been able to play from that two (guard) position, but last year he found himself being one of our better defenders out there on the floor. But as a senior, we may have to look to him to play some of that leadership role as well for us there at that spot. We have had him out there a little bit at times.”

On dividing up the point guard minutes…
“It’s going to be interesting this year because I think we have guys that are very capable. I think it’s going to dictate the game and how the game is played and how effective they are on the floor. I think both of those guys (Anthony Hickey and Tim Quarterman) will get quality minutes out there. Last year, it was tough at times trying to get someone else in that position, but it won’t be this year.”

On how the seniors have responded to the freshmen thus far…
“It forces guys to try and raise the level of their game. Each practice, you have to come prepared and be at your best because you’re being challenged every day. It’s been good for our upperclassmen because it’s forced them to improve as well. They really welcome it because I think they feel as though the better the underclassmen are and the newcomers, the better team that we’ll have the opportunity to put on the floor during the season.”





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