AUGUSTA, Georgia – LSU men’s basketball coach Johnny Jones spent time in Katz Korner Friday night on ESPNU with ESPN basketball analyst Andy Katz, taped earlier this week in August, Ga.
Jones and Katz discussed the Southeastern Conference and what the perception is of the league and what LSU needs to do to make it back to the NCAA Tournament. Here are some of Coach Jones’ comments from the television broadcast:
On the Southeastern Conference and perceptions...
“I think we have a great league and we are battle tested every night. We (LSU) are one of those teams that we think we can go in and challenge night in and night out and be there. But when you take a league like that that has Tennessee that goes to the Sweet 16 and continues to battle and you have two teams in the Final Four, those things are going to happen.
“But I love the way that our league is challenged year in and year out and you just have to continue to battle and be like Tennessee was a year ago, Arkansas won 8 of their last 10 games last year … Had an opportunity to get there … We (LSU) have to just continue to play, recruit really well and go out there and continue to battle and see what happens.”
Katz asked about scheduling in non-conference and winning high profile games...
“You just have to go out and play, do your best, challenge and compete. We’ll certainly get back to where we were years ago. We just finished two seasons 19 wins one year, 20 the next. Both years we were .500 in the league. That’s not good enough. We have to continue to get better. Do more so we can get ourselves in that elite group. Get into that tournament. But I like our league. We just have to get that credibility that we had before and I think this past year served a great purpose. Florida and Kentucky were in the Final Four and Kentucky played in the championship game. I think when you look at what Tennessee did … We have to just keep pecking away as a league and I think some great things are in the future for our league.”
On LSU getting back to NCAA Tournament...
“When you look at returning Jordan Mickey and Jarell Martin, two great freshmen from last year, (they) played a lot of minutes. I think the guard play is going to have to be significant and what is going to have to stand out for us to take that extra step. We feel like we have answered that through recruiting and answered some questions inside as well. But we lost a great player in Johnny O’Bryant III and those other guys who flanked him as well last year. The nucleus is going to have to be great. The chemistry is going to have to be good. We feel like we have the weapons to certainly make that happen.”
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