Brady Speaks at Annual Media Day
COACH JOHN BRADY QUOTES AT LSU BASKETBALL MEDIA DAY
BATON ROUGE — With the start of practice scheduled for Saturday morning, LSU Coach John Brady faced the media at the annual local basketball media day activities at the Athletic Administration Building.
Brady enters his sixth season as the head coach at LSU, coming off a 19-15 season in which LSU won seven of its last 11 games and advanced to the second round of the NIT.
The Tigers open exhibition play in early November and open the regular season against Nicholls State in the third annual Hispanic College Funds Classic, Nov. 22 at the Maravich Assembly Center.
The only player not appearing in the media day session was senior guard Collis Temple III who is under going treatment for a blow to the right eye. His status is listed below in trainer Drew Shea’s quotes.
Here were Coach Brady’s opening remarks to the gathered media at the media day luncheon:
“Five years has gone by awfully quick. I’m amazed sometimes at how times how flown since we’ve been here. To move forward and appreciate what has gone on, you have to look back sometimes. I’ll never forget and I’ve said this before, but I’ll always remember that when we started this thing, how we started and the circumstances we started under, goes back to the process of hiring Butch Pierre. I had already hired Kermit Davis and I’ll never forget going into that Pete Maravich Assembly Center when we had our first team meeting. We inherited a team with seven players, and after our first meeting three of them quit on the spot. So we started our tenure at LSU with four guys. It was two weeks before the spring signing date and I’ll never forget I asked Kermit Davis if he had any suggestions and he said ‘yeah, let’s never have anymore team meetings.'”
“Since that time, I’ve been very lucky which makes me appreciative and that I feel good about a lot of things. I appreciate and feel good about you guys, the media. I’m appreciative of the way you’ve treated us. For the most part, I appreciate the way you guys have dealt with us. I appreciate and feel good about our administration. Dr. Jenkins was the chancellor when I got the job. He has always been very supportive. Dr. Emmert has also been very supportive and Skip Berkman is also very supportive of what we’ve been through and what we’re trying to do. I feel good and am appreciative of how our previous teams have tried to play. Regardless of the talent level we’ve had, some years pretty good talent level, other years not as good as others. Our team has always seemed to play at a pretty high level relative to the talent. From a coaching standpoint that’s all you can do when you judge a team. I don’t think there is many people out there that say these guys should have won 25 games with that collection of players. I think our team has been real smart to try to maximize what it’s had to do it with. I said three things when I got the job. I said our team would always be tough, would be hard and that it would compete. I feel good about that and grateful for it.
“Obviously I’m grateful for a SEC Western Division Championship, SEC Championship, and a Sweet 16 appearance. I also feel good about two years ago when our team got down to five scholarship players and how it tried to play. I feel really good about that from a coaching standpoint. Maybe some fans, or some media don’t really understand. They don’t appreciate what that team tried to do or how it played. I’m quite proud of that team.
“I also appreciate and feel good about the play of last year’s team. We went through a six game losing steak in January. Let’s be quite honest, that’s the worst time to lose basketball games at LSU. Football is over and baseball hasn’t started. You’ve got about four or five weeks to get it done. In that four or five week stretch when everyone is looking at LSU basketball, we didn’t do so hot. We lost six in a row. Four of the games were relatively close. Also in that time period Collis went down. At that point in the season, Collis was our leading scorer, not Ronald Dupree. So in spite of losing our leading scorer at the time, the uncertainty of whether or not he was going to play again or not, we inserted a freshman into the lineup in Antonio Hudson. His emergence as a player and our team’s ability to absorb the six game losing streak in January and our team believing in what we want to do and being able to resurrect it at the end helped us to have a winning season, win 19 games on a team picked to basically finish last in the league.
“We went to the SEC Tournament and played quite well. A few timely baskets against Mississippi State and we would have been in the championship game against Alabama. We went into the NIT and beat Iowa on the road. Have you ever been to Iowa City Iowa to play in their arena there? It’s a real difficult place to play. For our team to go in there and beat a team that was in the Championship game of the Big 10 tournament, had won several games in a row, was good for our team. Then I’m also appreciate of our fans, particularly after that NIT game at Iowa for them to respond the way they did by selling 13,000 tickets for a NIT home game against Ball State. I feel good about that and I’m appreciative of it.
“I’m also feeling good about this year’s team for a number of reasons. Now if you say something positive the fans and media spin into Brady says they’re going to win the national championship. Well that’s not what Brady’s saying. I’m saying I feel good about our team relative to our past teams of how they’re entering the season. Now relative to Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Florida, I’m not so sure I feel that good. However, this is the first year in the off-season that I felt good about an incoming LSU team because we haven’t had to start over. We’ve got everyone back besides Jermaine Williams. We have depth, size and experience. We’re two competitive deep at every position and that’s why I feel good about this coming season. Our goals with this team are what our goals have always been since I’ve been here. We want to try and defend every possession. We want to rebound the ball. We want to take care of the ball and minimize turnovers. And we want to get a quality shot. That’s as simple as the game gets and that’s what we want try to get into our team every single practice, every single game.”
“I also feel good about our schedule. I think we have our most challenging schedule throughout, top to bottom. We play Arizona at home, and most magazines are picking Arizona their pre-season No. 1 in the country. We play Texas A&M at the Reliant Center in Houston. A&M will be a good opponent for us. We play Houston and UNO at home. Houston out of Conference USA is a good game for us. We play UNO here who beat us down there last year at the buzzer. We didn’t play particularly well and we got beat and so that’s a game our team will be excited about play. We play Tulane in New Orleans in the Sugar Bowl Classic. We haven’t played Tulane since like 1982. So what the Tulane game will do, hopefully, is create some interest. We’re on television this year 12 or 13 times and that hasn’t happened here in a long time so somebody feels good about the progression of the LSU basketball team.” “Another thing I want to share with you, that you may or may not care about, but that I feel good about is, in summer school in 57 hours our basketball team has a 3.51 GPA. We’ve had seven graduates in the five years I’ve had the job. Jermaine Williams and Brad Bridgewater walked across the stage this August and got their degrees. Collis Temple and Brad Bridgewater will be two graduates that will play on our basketball team this season. We may be one of the few teams in the country with that distinction. Ronald Dupree, who some consider our best player, is in line to graduate in Engineering next summer. So we’re doing some good things in the classroom that I feel are very important as well.”
“Collis has developed a condition called hyphema as a result of a direct blow to his right eye, which he received in a pick-up game at the PMAC Tuesday evening. A collection of blood forms inside the eyeball, and as a result, he needs complete bed rest for five days. If he does anything to over-exert himself, additional blood could return to that area. Collis has seen our team ophthalmologist daily, and he is improving each day. At the end of two weeks, if everything looks normal, then he can resume playing.
“Thomas Davis has suffered a severe right ankle sprain, and his status will be evaluated on a day-to-day basis.”
Here are the quotes from some LSU players Thursday during the media days interview session:
SOPHOMORE GUARD ANTONIO HUDSON
On how the team’s depth will affect starting line-ups, playing time, etc.
“The starting factor doesn’t matter to me, as long as we’re winning. I can’t wait for the competition at practice. Last year, we were kind of limited, but now we have to practice hard every day, because every day somebody is coming out to get your position. Nothing is guaranteed, so I’m going to go out and try to do what I can do and perform the best way I can. You can’t come in not expecting to work, because if you do, you’re going to get buried. I love it that way, because it brings the best out of you.”
On what he needs to do to be successful this season
“This year I need to be more consistent. Last year, I was up and down; I’d be here one game and there another game. If I’m more consistent this year, I think I’ll be all right. I’ve worked on finishing around the goal; people labeled me as a jump shooter last year, so I want to be more of a complete player.”
STARTING SENIOR POINT GUARD TORRIS BRIGHT
His outlook for this season
“I think if we stay together and play together, and everybody stays healthy, we have a chance to make a strong run in the NCAA Tournament. The personnel is there this year, the chemistry is there, and we have a lot of a talent. We needed some big men last year, we’ve got them this year, so I think we’re headed in the right direction.”
His role as point guard
“My main concern is to get everybody the ball, but most importantly, to win. If we win the majority of our games, then I have accomplished my job.”
The effect of the team’s depth on the attitude of the squad
“Everybody on the team is thinking about fighting for their position. Everybody is going to play as hard as they can play and practice as hard as they can practice.
SENIOR CENTER BRAD BRIDGEWATER
“It feels good just taking some classes. You know just to get the feel of what I want to do now. It feels great not to have to focus on school so much anymore. I can just concentrate on basketball, working on all the things I need to work on, so it feels real good.”
On the addition of (Jaime) Lloreda and (Shawnson) Johnson:
“It helps my game out a lot, and I think it helps the team out a lot. When you get a big man, he’s the only person out there banging all the time so he gets tired; he gets worn down because it’s a hard job out there on the post. You have fresh guys who can do the same or better, it’s great, it’s great for the team, and it’s great for me because I feel that I can go that much harder while I am in the game instead of trying to conserve myself throughout the game.” On playing the number 4 or 5 position:
“I think my true position is a four, but due to our size, I was at five, but I learned the position, and I learned a lot of the post moves. It will work out for me either way.”
On improving his play:
“I worked a lot in the weight room and I gained fifteen pounds over the summer. I am up to 270, I’m a lot stronger and I’ve been working a lot more on going strong to the basket. But since we’ve started our new offense, I had to work on my jump shot a lot too; you might see me shooting a couple of jumpers this year too. It will be a lot different.”
SENIOR FORWARD RONALD DUPREE
On having a full scholarship squad:
“It feels good, we have a lot of bodies, a lot of people in practice, we sub, and we have a lot of talent. We have a lot of big men this year that we’ve needed for the last two seasons. The whole team has this great attitude about the upcoming season, we have to expect a lot out of ourselves, and we are going to win a championship this year. That’s my goal and the whole team’s goal.” On pick-up games this off-season:
“Very competitive because if you lose you are going to sit down because we have too many players. It’s the big men; they’ve been very competitive amongst themselves trying to bring the new guys to a competitive level. They are still home sick, they don’t realize the level they are on right now. You can’t call small fouls and expect to get the call. A lot of things we are trying to get those new guys to play through a lot of the physical contact, and other than that we look good. The veterans are playing better than ever. I expect a lot of great things.”