Men's Basketball Begins Season with Free Exhibition
BATON ROUGE – The LSU men’s basketball team has its final tune-up before opening the 2013-14 season Wednesday night at 7 p.m. at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center against Xavier of New Orleans.
The game will be broadcast on 107.3 FM in Baton Rouge (due to The Les Miles Show on 98.1 FM) and on the LSU Sports Radio Network. Live video and audio will also be available in the Geaux Zone at www.LSUsports.net/live. Visit www.LSUsports.net/join for package details, as eight men’s basketball games will air live this season.
Admission for the game is free of charge and gates will open at 5:30 p.m. The night will also feature information on the United Way campaign which LSU Coach Johnny Jones is involved in as a campus spokesperson.
Xavier is 1-0 after a 91-67 win over Carve College of Atlanta last Friday. The NAIA team, ranked 19th in the preseason poll, was led by Sydney Coleman who had 17 points. Xavier Rogers added 13, Morris Wright 12, RJ Daniels 11 and Anthony Goode 10. Xavier shot 57 percent from the floor and held Carver College to just 29 percent.
This will be LSU’s only exhibition game before public eyes after playing the allowable closed scrimmage against a D1 opponent some 10 days ago. LSU will open the 2013-14 season on Tuesday, Nov. 12, at UMass in a 10 a.m. start as part of the ESPN Tip-Off Marathon. LSU will open its home schedule on Saturday, Nov. 16, at 7 p.m. against Northwestern State, the first of three consecutive home games in a seven-day period.
The Tigers return some strong veterans led by first-team All-SEC selection Johnny O’Bryant III (13.6 ppg and 8.7 rpg) who will have more help down low to help with some of the rebounding problems of last season. LSU has two seniors who may be in the starting lineup in guard Andre Stringer (10.4 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 2.1 apg) and forward Shavon Coleman (10.5 ppg and 5.9 rpg).
Coach Jones would not divulge hit entire starting lineup at his Tuesday media session but did say that JOBIII and freshman Tim Quarterman. Quarterman was an all-state point guard from Savannah, Ga., who was part of the No. 5-ranked recruiting class brought in by Coach Jones and staff for the 2013-14 season.
Season tickets, mini-plans and single-game non-conference tickets remain on sale at the LSU Athletics Ticket Office and at LSUtix.net. Follow live updates for the game and all season long on Twitter @LSUBasketball and on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/LSUBasketball.
Here are some of the comments from Coach Jones today during his media session:
Head Coach Johnny Jones
“We’re excited about the last tune-up, the exhibition game (Wednesday). I think our guys are really excited about getting started. Generally, when we have a day or so off of practice, we usually come back and probably are not as sharp because of the days off. I thought (Monday), after being off on Sunday was one of our more energetic type practices, and I thought that was a good sign for us hopefully leading into our final tune-up against Xavier out of New Orleans. They are a team that will be very well-coached, rated in the top 20 in the country in their division (NAIA). It will be a good opportunity for us to go out (Wednesday) and play against some guys that’ll come in here and compete and be at their best. Our guys look forward to the challenge that we’ll be faced with. The things we’re looking for tomorrow is hopefully to start to try to work on a rotation and then we will be looking at the early part of the season. And hopefully defensively we can try to work on a few coverages and some defensive schemes that we’ve worked on. We’re hopeful they will help us in this early part of the season against some really stiff competition that we’ll be faced with this year.”
On the number of combinations he wants to play during Wednesday’s exhibition game …
“More so, I kind of have an idea of what we like to do. You run – you want to try and see if there are about eight to nine guys that you really want to take a good, strong look at in different positions and in different combinations as well. I feel like we’re going to have an opportunity to do that. It’s going to be important for us, prior to playing on Tuesday, to have a feel of how guys are playing together, and how they’re complimenting each other out there on the floor.”
On what will determine his starting five for the exhibition game …
“Hopefully practices will dictate that and how we compete in practice each day and how those guys continue to do chemistry-wise in terms of games. I think throughout the season it will play out that way. Then you never know what our combinations will be in because of injury, disciplinary actions or whatever. You always have to be prepared, and I think be ready for those and be able to make those types of adjustments.”
On the team’s health going into the exhibition game…
“Everybody should be able to go. Shavon Coleman is probably not at full speed right now. We will probably hold him out of practice today and just kind of see where he is close to game-time tomorrow.”
On Tim Quarterman most likely starting the exhibition game…
“He’s done a tremendous job. One, he’s not just a 6’6” perimeter guy, I mean point guard. He’s a guy that is very capable of playing the point, distributing the basketball and really defending from that position. He creates opportunities to get other people better out there on the floor. Because of some things we’ve had to address with Anthony [Hickey] early on, he’s handled it extremely well. He’s practiced extremely well and been very competitive in practice. He will certainly be a part of our early rotation as well, but he’s one of those guys that can easily find himself in the starting lineup as well at some point.”
On some of the things he can gauge from game action versus practice …
“Well the speed of the game, and their ability to execute at certain levels. One thing our guys all understand in our plays is that they’re all very capable of jumping them and getting in good defensive position to try to stop them because they know. When you’re playing an opponent – one, we don’t know their plays. We want to see where we are in terms of help defensively. If we’re in the areas that we are supposed to be in and how we execute offensively against other opponents as well. Those are some things that will be a key for us tomorrow.”
On what he wants to see from John Odo in the exhibition game …
“I’d love to see John Odo down on the block defending like he’s capable and blocking shots that are coming toward the rim. Rebounding, being the vicious rebounder that he is on both ends of the floor, offensively and defensively. John is capable of going and getting rebounds out of his area. That’s a guy that can read and understand where the ball is coming off, and he’s done a good job. We look forward to him being able to do that tomorrow.”
On the possibility of seeing combination of Johnny O’Bryant III, Jordan Mickey and Jarell Martin on the floor at the same time…
“That’ll be a great combination out there, something that we’ve looked at throughout the year with Johnny at the center, Jordan Mickey at the four (power forward) and Jarell Martin playing the three (small forward). That’s a tremendous combination that we’ve worked on this year. At times, they’ve really executed and played extremely well together. All three guys are capable of shooting outside shots or posting on the block. All three guys are good passers and have done an excellent job of taking care of the ball and making the simple plays for us. So, I could see that combination quite often.”
On some of the returning players embracing the possibility of playing less minutes this season…
“We’ve never conversed about it, but I think those guys are able to see the make-up of this basketball team and the talent level that’s out there. I think what you fight for right now, as a player, is to make sure you’re in that rotation early on – that you could get some quality minutes out there on the floor. That’s going to be the thing the most important to us. Winning is also the most important thing for us right now. They’re hopeful to be in that combination of guys to be the person that are out there helping us be at our best or be able to compete at the highest level night in and night out.”
On his guys being excited about playing transition basketball…
“We’re hopeful a lot. One big thing for us to get in transition is that we have to be good on the defensive end creating turnovers. That will allow us to get out on our break or force teams to take low percentage or miss shots. When we can rebound the basketball at a high rate, get it out to our guards and push it, that’s something that we’re looking to do. But it’s going to take two things. One, you’ve got to be good on the defensive end and force them to miss. Or (two) if we can get steals. We’ll still fast break off of makes, but your chance of getting the numbers and the advantage on the other end of the floor is greatly improved by steals and long rebounds. That’s something we look to do tomorrow. We look to push it, get it down the floor as quick as possible and take high percentage shots.”