LSU Gold

Jones Preps Basketball for Opening Practice

by Kent Lowe (@LSUkent)
Jones Preps Basketball for Opening Practice

BATON ROUGE – The LSU men’s basketball team takes to the court Tuesday afternoon for the first of 30 practices that will lead to the first game of the 2013-14 season on Nov. 12 at UMass.

It will be a new world for players in the men’s game this year, especially for those used to starting on a Friday evening closest to Oct. 15. But LSU Coach Johnny Jones will bring his squad of 14 together under the rules that allow a team to have 30 practices in the 42 days prior to the first official game of the year.

The Tigers return starters junior forward Johnny O’Bryant III, who was a first-team All-SEC selection, as well as junior point guard Anthony Hickey, who was named to the league’s All-Defensive team. Also back is senior guard Andre Stringer. Stringer upped his three-point percentage to over 40 percent a year ago and is just 36 points shy of 1,000 career points.

LSU will also have senior Shavon Coleman, who started eight games last year, and, sophomores Malik Morgan and Shane Hammink returning.

Tiger fans are also waiting to see a recruiting class that is ranked fifth in the country including Madison Prep’s Jarell Martin; Tim Quarterman of Savannah, Ga.; Dallas’ Jordan Mickey; seven-footer Darcy Malone of Australia; and, John Odo, a native of Nigeria who transferred in after the first semester and who practiced with the team in the spring.

The Tigers’ Nov. 12 opener at UMass is part of the ESPN Tipoff Marathon. LSU opens its home slate on Nov. 16 against Northwestern State. Information on tickets for the 2013-14 season can be found at

LSU will host Bayou Madness featuring both the men’s and women’s basketball teams on Thursday, Oct. 10, at 7 p.m. in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

Follow LSU men’s basketball on Facebook at and on Twitter @LSUBasketball.

Coach Jones on Monday met with his beat writers and the local television stations and offered this assessment entering Tuesday’s first practice:

Opening Statement
“We are really excited to start practice (Tuesday). I feel like our guys have done a tremendous job this summer in preparation for a very tough schedule that we are faced with. The guys that are returning have a great deal of experience. We are excited about the recruiting class and the freshmen we have coming in along with John Odo who sat out last season. With the combination of the guys coming in and our guys returning there are some great things in store for this basketball team.

On the length of the team…
“We have guys that have a great deal of range. A guy like Jordan Mickey who has a 7′ 3” wingspan, is an incredible athlete and has done a tremendous job in the offseason working out. Jarell Martin and Tim Quarterman are both grown and have great deal of range in terms of length. Darcy Malone is going to be another delight to watch this year. We will be a lot more around the rim this year and it will be fun to watch.”

On practice…
“It will be very different than last year because of the time between practice starting and game time. Our first game is November 12 and we want to make sure that we are conditioned right, but don’t put ourselves in a position that we are in tip top shape at the wrong time.”

On Brian Bridgewater‘s status …
“Brian is enrolled in school and he is still in the middle of an appeal process. We are still waiting on the decision and until then he won’t be able to take the floor with us for practice. It just has to do with one class that he did extremely well in and we will have to see how they rule.”

On if Brian Bridgewater could join the team for the SEC schedule…
“We just want to make sure we do our due diligence in the appeal process and help him any way we can. If the decision comes too late then we will decide whether to play or redshirt him. We want to make sure they have a proper ruling before we play him or anything like that.”

On freshman being ready when they get on campus…
“I think talent level allows it to happen because of guys playing against certain competition. When you talk about elite basketball leagues that they are in and playing on foreign tours allows better competition. Some are more advanced or ahead than others.”

On the expectations for the newcomers…
“I think they will go through the same process as the other guys and it will take some time to adjust to this level of play. The game has guys that are bigger, stronger and faster at this level so there will be an adjustment process.”

On Andre Stringer‘s development…
“He has tremendous leadership and he grew up a lot last year. He really improved during the summer and into the school year. It’s his senior year and he wants to make sure he has an opportunity to go out the right way in winning and maximizing all of his potential. I think he’s done it in leading by example and being more vocal with our team.”

On what he will figure out in the first two weeks…
“I just want to make sure our intensity level is at the right spot and that our chemistry is right. I think we are going to get off to a great start but intensity level is the main thing. We have to play as hard as possible and give ourselves an opportunity to execute at a high level.”

On guys getting meaningful minutes…
“With our schedule and looking at our team only 11 of the 13 guys will be able to play right now. I like our number and 10-11 guys could have the opportunity to get into the rotation depending on how we will play. It will be excellent for us and I think the way this team is put together any given night any one can give us very positive minutes. We are really excited about that.”

On Anthony Hickey maturing…
“We hope he will continue to grow as a person and basketball player. We are hoping that from last year’s experience, it’s a constant reminder how important it is to be mindful on and off the floor.”

On the versatility of the newcomers…
Tim Quarterman is very lengthy and has a real presence about him on the court. Jarell Martin can play inside or out and has the versatility but has a ways to go. He can put it on the floor and has a great basketball IQ. Jordan Mickey is a tremendous player and is a great defender inside who can block some shots. I’m really impressed by Darcy Malone. He runs the floor extremely well and is a really good outside shooter. John Odo has done a tremendous job defending and being active around the basket.”

On any chance of redshirting Darcy Malone
“It would be extremely tough because he is a little more advanced than guys you would normally redshirt. He has great size and strength. He has a great preseason for us so it would be extremely tough. I can see him getting a lot of quality minutes.”

On Shavon Coleman
“I think he will start at the three or the four. We have about six guys who are capable of playing that spot and he will certainly be more perimeter oriented than last year. I think that will be beneficial to him and it will help us because it gives us more experience out there. He is a really good on ball defender who has great length and plays extremely hard.”

On Andre Stringer fitting in…
“I really like guys who can put the ball in the hole and he does it as well as anybody. We had guys with size last year but he really was a top defender for us. I’m a firm believer that you have to measure the guys around their heart and he has a big heart. He played extremely well for us last year and he hasn’t backed up this year.”

On the pace of the game…
“We will start building on that from the first day of practice. We want to put pressure on teams and make them uncomfortable on defense. With the length and depth we have it will allow us to do that.”

On John Odo
“He has done a tremendous job and has gotten bigger and stronger over the summer. He has put on weight and changed his eating habits. He has also done a tremendous job in the weight room and will be a significant contributor for this team.”

On Darcy Malone‘s weight…
“He has added weight and a great deal of strength as well. He is very rangy and is a great athlete. To have a seven footer that can run and jump is very special. He is able to face up from outside and really shoot the basketball.”

On who will be the defender to set the tone …
“I think Shavon Coleman will be. He was kind of taken advantage last year but being on the perimeter this year will be good for him. Hickey is very capable and Tim Quarterman. It really starts at the top with our point guard. The other guys are very capable on the wing and it will really help us. Another thing that will be beneficial to us are the guys in practice like Keith Hornsby.”

On Johnny O’Bryant III
“He is going to require a lot of attention from the opposing team after the offseason he has had. He has worked extremely hard and his weight and conditioning is probably the best it has been that he has been in his career. He had an excellent camp with LeBron James and had a great showing at Amare Stoudemire’s camp. With that being said, I think other teams are going to be required to put a lot of attention on Johnny which will benefit the other guys on our team. At the same time, the other guys on our team will allow Johnny a little more freedom than last year to execute, pass and shoot the ball.”