Johnny Jones Introduced as 21st Basketball Coach
BATON ROUGE – Johnny Jones was officially introduced Monday in the athletics department’s fifth floor media room as the 21st men’s basketball coach at LSU.
Calling it a “dream come true” and saying that he was “home,” Jones discussed his up tempo style of play, his initial meeting with his team Sunday night, the nervous hours waiting for the call from vice-chancellor and athletics director Joe Alleva and more during his first official duty as the LSU men’s coach.
Speaking before a packed room that not only included media from throughout Louisiana, his opening event was also viewed by his mentor, former Coach Dale Brown, former LSU Athletics Director Joe Dean, football coach Les Miles, baseball coach Paul Mainieri, gymnastics coach D-D Breaux, women’s golf coach Karen Bahnsen, several peers in the coaching profession and many former players that Jones coached in his years as an assistant coach at LSU.
Jones was introduced by Alleva to open the media conference.
Jones, 51, is a native of DeRidder, La., and played at LSU from 1981-84, including as a freshman on the 1981 NCAA Final Four team. He started his coaching career at LSU the next season and stayed in Baton Rouge until Coach Brown retired following the 1996-97 season.
Jones spent three years at Memphis, the last as interim head coach, before going to Alabama for a year as an assistant. For the last 11 years he has been the head coach at the University of North Texas,.
Jones becomes the fifth alum of LSU to become the head men’s basketball coach and the third to have both played and served as head coach at the school.
LSU SPORTS INFORMATION
April 16, 2012
VICE-CHANCELLOR AND DIRECTOR OF ATHLETICS, JOE ALLEVA
LSU Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Joe Alleva
Opening Statement …
“Thank you for coming out today. It is a great turnout, appreciate it. Just to tell you a little story. About four years ago I went through this process, and I interviewed Coach Jones. At the end of that interview, I said to myself ‘Wow, that guy is really impressive.’ For the last four years, I have followed him. I have watched some of his press conferences. I have watched a lot of his games. Whenever I was in his company, I tried to get to know him. So he was on my list.”
“When this opportunity came along last Thursday before Easter, Trent (Johnson) told me he was going to be moving on. Eddie Nunez and I started the search. Let me assure you it was a national search. While I am saying that Eddie I want to thank you for your help in that process, you were terrific. It was a national search.”
“We have a lot of contacts between the two of us. We contacted a lot of people, and talked to a lot of people, and reached out to a lot of people and interviewed people. I thought it was kind of comical some of the names who were reported, 99 percent of those names were wrong. We talked to a lot of people, and there is no doubt in my mind that we have got the right man for this job at this point in time. There is no doubt in my mind.”
“One of our goals is to excite the PMAC and excite our fans. Fans get excited by winning. You win, and fans get excited. To win, you need to recruit and have players. We have got a good nucleus of players, we need to add to that nucleus of players. Again, there is no doubt in my mind that Coach Jones can do that. To get a guy that was born in Louisiana, went to school here and coached here is just a bonus. It really adds to the fit into this job. Let me assure you that he (Coach Jones) has earned the right to have this opportunity. He has paid his dues, and he has earned this opportunity. He has great passion and love for this place. I have had the opportunity in my career to call and talk to many people and offer them a job. I will never forget at a quarter to 5 p.m. on Friday when I called Johnny (Jones) and offered him the job. It was absolutely the best phone call I have ever had. It was special. I know he will remember it for a while. This man has class and integrity. He is going to do a terrific job here at LSU. It is my pleasure to welcome Johnny Jones.”
LSU MEN’S BASKETBALL COACH JOHNNY JONES
“This is an exciting time for me. I’d like to first start off and say, I see a lot of familiar faces out there … There are a lot of familiar faces and former players. I see some of the current LSU coaches. Paul Mainieri, congratulations, he is ranked number one again in the polls in baseball. Lets give it up for him. That is not easy. D-D Breaux is here and Karen Bahnsen, and my guy Les Miles, who I have been following from afar. I had my heart beating back there fast. I had a chance to meet him in the back room. Just that excitement that I was filled with having the opportunity to visit with him in that short time, I can see why he is successful in the things that he has been able to do over the years … I see Coach (Dale) Brown. I want to thank you for what you have done. You really put me in this position. I had an opportunity, I came here, played for you from 1980-84 and really having the opportunity to sit by your side as an assistant really helped me for this day. It really jumped start of my career in terms of coaching. I see a lot of the players- we had a chance to meet last night- they are a great group of young men who I look forward to working with. I told them last night; this is not about a transition period where a coach is going to come in and say wait until I get my guys. You are my guys. I am coming in here and I will embrace you, I’m glad that you guys welcomed me with open arms last night when we had a great visit and I look forward to moving forward. We are going to have some success together, and it is going to happen right away.”
“Mr. Alleva talked about the time in judging me, but before I get there I want to say hello to a lot of the former players. Guys that I have gotten the opportunity to play with as well and guys that I have gotten the opportunity to coach. I see you scattered about here in the room and you all are looking great and in great shape. I just want to let you guys know that you are people I will lean on a lot and we will play some pickup games. I’ll be the official. I’m not running up and down with you anymore. But I will referee and stand on the side. Mr. Alleva, I had an opportunity to visit with him about four years ago. He came in there to San Antonio looking for a basketball coach. I was impressed with him in terms of the way he handled the interview process. He had an opportunity to visit with me, and at that time I sincerely thought I had a job because of the questions he asked and the way things were handled. I knew that it wasn’t just a mock interview to speak. I knew he wasn’t just going through the motion. He was sincere in what he was talking about. It didn’t happen, but I kept my eye on him. I watched him. I read everything. I love reading and I love keeping up with LSU. Over the years I opened the paper trying to find out what was going on. I would see when the coaches had success the comments that he would make at that time. When there were setbacks that his teams had, I saw as well how he supported his coaches. I knew that he was the type of guy that I would love to have the opportunity to work for. I am glad that this day has come to pass. I told him how I felt like, and I’m sure you guys have seen that little cheese commercial where that guy comes in with his little book and it is not ready yet, well I’m glad at some point he came back into that room and was ready to check me off that list. I’m glad and blessed to have this opportunity.”
“I can tell you this, this is a dream come true for me. This is a great day to say the least. When I say a dream come true, I mean in it. Many nights I went to sleep with this on my mind. Having an opportunity to be back, to be a part of this program and LSU, I was never really disengaged because of the fact that I was a former player, a student and I coached here for all of those years, and you just can’t get that out of your blood. To have an opportunity to put what I call that badge on again that says LSU; it gets you into places and out of a lot of other places. It is a tremendous badge to have out there and it is a force to be reckoned with.”
“I understand what it means to be a part of that LSU family. I am home. I can tell you that there is no place like home. I can’t tell you how excited I am to be here. I’m going to try to bring back that passion and that excitement that LSU basketball had when you talk about that excitement in the glory days, I think that is what they were referred to. When you talk about 1981 and Rudy Macklin, Ethan Martin and Greg Cookieman Cook, and you look at those names, I think people can relate to that. That is what they hang on to. When you used to walk over there to the Maravich Assembly Center, before they reconfigured the place for wheelchair accessibility, people were hanging off the rafters, 14,500 people, people standing outside looking for tickets and fire marshals bothering people in the aisles, that is what I want to get back to. You look at that 1986 team, you had Ricky Blanton, you had Don Redden and Derrick Taylor, and I remember Anthony Wilson just across the street hitting that shot against Memphis to get us an opportunity to play in the Sweet 16 and getting down there to play. It is just the great things like that, and they go on and on. Those are the type of things that we have got to get back attached to.”
“I told this team last night, just showing up is not going to be good enough. It is about winning. I’ve been a part of a program and have gotten into the business of cutting down nets, hanging banners, ordering championship rings and watching kids walk across the stage with a degree in hand. That is program building and I think that is what people have a chance to get excited about. That is the mission that I will be on here at LSU. That is something we are looking forward to moving forth with it.
“Style of play: I just want you to know that we are going to play a fast brand of basketball. Seven out of the last eight years, we’re either led the league in scoring or been in the top two. I’ve been there 11 years. We’re going to push it, but it is going to be organized and not just chaos. We’re going to make sure that we take good shots, and be under control, but we will play fast and we will do that with a passion. On the other end, we will defend the rim. We will make sure that we are guarding people, making them play over the top of us and forcing them to shoot low percentage shots. We will rebound the ball and go off to the races. When it happens to go in, we’re off to the races as well. We will get after it and it will be a style that my players enjoy playing, the fans will embrace because they enjoy watching it and I can assure you that is the style of play and the way I enjoy coaching. That is what I embrace. I can tell you we can win with it because we have. I’ve taken over a program a few years ago that was averaging only five wins a year. Over a four-year period we won 20 games. The last six years we have been able to win over 21 games a year because of the way that we have played the game. We’ve changed the game. We’ve gone from worst to first in our league. I think there is something to be said for that.”
“I have to make sure that I give credit to a lot of the guys back there at North Texas. They did a tremendous job of buying into what we were doing. We were averaging 1000 fans and we’re averaging over 4,000 fans this year because of the way people were able to buy in. I want to make sure that I thank the administration back there. Rick Villarreal for hiring me and allowing me to be there for 11 long years.”
“How do we get there? We’ll do it with that H.I.T. philosophy that we are so open to after talking about that exciting brand of basketball that we are going to play. I want to make sure that we put the type of product on the floor that our fans really want to buy into. They want to come and have that passion again in terms of pulling for that basketball team. We’ll do it with that H.I.T. philosophy. When I was here before, Coach Brown used to write a little deal on the board and it has kind of stuck with me. I actually put it H.I.T. on our championship rings. It stands for hard, intelligent and together. That is the way our teams will play. We will play extremely hard. We will be one of the hardest playing teams in college basketball. We’re going to play intelligent and we’re going to play together. It is going to be special. I think that when you unite guys like that, guys have an understanding and they understand that it is not about ‘I.’ It is about ‘we.’ How powerful that will be for us.
“The big thing is to get to all of that, we have to make sure that we do a great job here in the state at uniting with these high school coaches. They are incredible. We’ve got to make sure that we blanket this state and get the best players out of the state of Louisiana. Just like Coach Miles and all the other coaches have done. We have to make sure that it is attention to detail. We have to make sure that they understand that them along with the AAU Coaches out there that this is going to be a hands on deal. We want to make sure that we have a relationship with them. Not only just a relationship, but we have to make sure that we have a partnership that will transfer to everyone out there who will understand how important it is to have ownership of this basketball program. When you have ownership in something, you really buy into it and you want to have an opportunity to see them succeed. It won’t be easy, and I understand that. We’ve got a lot of challenges in front of us. I will be up for the challenge and we will embrace it.
“I want to make sure our fans understand how important they are. We want them to come back out and be a part of what we are doing. I want you to understand that I can’t do this alone. I want you to understand that the biggest deal for me is that the best potential of me, is we. We will be able to do this together. Thank you very much. I am excited to be back here as an LSU Tiger.”
On what he was doing when he got the call and what his emotions were like…
“Well, I was sitting at work because you know I still had a job, and so I was at work that day and I just want you to know it was nerve-wracking that whole week. Trent (Johnson) who I had become friends with over the years, especially because of the type of the man he was, when he came in, he embraced the players and the former players and he didn’t come in disrespecting the program. I was able to reach out to him as a coach and we would see each other on the road and I have really taken a liking to him. He is just a good person. It started getting out that he may have interest in the TCU job and I had spent some time with him at the Final Four and there wasn’t any indication that he was going to leave. We were talking about next year and his team and my team and the things that were going on, so when that news broke, I was not encouraging him but I was just asking him was he sure that was something he wanted to do, you know. I wanted to make sure he was absolutely locked in. When word got out that he was leaving, I felt there would be an opportunity for me to possibly to get back.
“I heard from Mr. Alleva on that Sunday or Monday that he wanted to meet on that Tuesday. They came in that Tuesday and we had an opportunity to sit down and visit for several hours and from that Tuesday on, I wasn’t sure how the process was going to take place, but I got a call on Thursday that by five o’clock on that Friday they would make their decision. I had to leave work that day because my nerves were just shot. My wife still works and is a diagnostician at the elementary school where my kids go and I come through the door and she is home and I could tell her nerves were shot too. The phone rings and I looked up and I had already locked Joe Alleva‘s number into my phone and I looked and I said ‘whoa, here we go,’ so I answer the phone and he says ‘how you doing?’ and I am sitting there and thinking well it’s going to depend a lot on what you say. He told me that he wants me to be his basketball coach and the next coach at LSU and I tell you what went through me because I had actually gotten up off the bed and walked in the closet because I didn’t know how I was going to react. It was quiet and I had a big lump in my throat and I was finally able to get it out and tell him how much I appreciate it. I told him that I wouldn’t let him down and I told him how hard I am going to work for him and what this really meant to me. For him to go through a national search and pick me, I wanted him to know it meant a lot to me that I was chosen. I was able to walk into the front after I had gotten off the phone and my wife is sitting on the couch and she looked at me and I looked like Muhammad Ali had just knocked someone out. She knew at that time it was all good. She gave me a hug like it was our wedding night. It wasn’t so much coaching, but for her getting back home. Her mom is from here and she is from Baton Rouge so she was getting to come back close to her mom and her family so things really worked out. It was a great time, thanks.”
On hitting the ground quickly with recruiting…
“We were able to get in on Saturday morning. They did a tremendous job. I had to sit down with compliance that morning, prior to getting on the road. They wanted to make sure they laid down all the groundwork and the information that they had already gathered from the other coaches, Coach Johnson and his group and how many contacts they already had and those things, so I had to make sure we were up to speed on that. I hit the road and had the opportunity to go visit some kids out there. We spoke to Malik Morgan who they already had signed to make sure we had some hands on and I wanted to get out there and make sure we had the opportunity to touch base. I want to tell you we have been working really hard and I can tell it has kind of been a one-man wrecking crew for me since we don’t have anyone else on board yet, but I am hopeful that in the next couple of days I will have a couple more guys in here so we can move forward.”
On rallying support for the program from the fans…
“… We are just all one big happy family. I think if people are at the baseball games, they still want to enjoy some basketball too because it is still LSU. If you are at the football game, you should still want to get over and see some basketball because if you are bleeding that purple and gold and you are sincere about it, then you will want to see those programs to do well and what happens is these kids feed off that. When I talk about that ’81 team and ’86 and Shaquille and those groups that have come through here in the past that fan base is what excites you. When I used to come out that tunnel my freshman year, it would never stop and that band would crank up and that cheering section would start going, you would be numb and that’s what we have to get back to and that’s what we are going to be begging for from the students to the sororities and fraternities to the general public, we have to get them back in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center so they can give us that edge we need.”
On whom he thinks will make up his staff…
“I don’t want to throw out any names, but I think we will bring a couple of guys with me from the previous staff. I don’t know what position they will hold. At the same time, I will be trying to help guys get the job with team I’m leaving. We are going to move pretty quickly here in assembling a staff, but I want to make sure I do the right thing because this is a championship program. This is the way I will handle it. I want to make sure I put a championship staff together because I want to give those guys the opportunity to have the most success they can possibly have. This is not one of those deals where it is an upstart. I want to make sure we have some guys who have been through the trenches, are ready to roll up their sleeves and understand what this place is all about and we are going to go to work and make sure we are going to get it done.”
On if he thinks all players will be back…
“I am hopeful that will happen. I thought we had a great and productive meeting. I enjoyed visiting with them and we visited for about an hour. We were able to embrace and talk and I talked to them about that family atmosphere. I took my family in there to visit as well and introduced them because my biggest deal and what I like to teach and preach is a family unity and a family atmosphere and that’s what it is all about with me. It’s not just something I say. It’s four things, spiritually, socially, academically and athletically we want these young men to continue to grow. The other thing I want to make sure that we do is that they understand I am an extension of their home. That is where our family will be. They come here and I want to be a father figure to them and help them continue to grow. They obviously come here with a great base from their family but it is my position to help them continue to grow as young men. So, I am hopeful that they all return, if not, we got to make sure we have everyone all in. We want everyone to buy in and be here for the right reasons because we are going to be in the trenches and we are going to war so we want to make sure everyone is on the same page and fighting. That’s what we are all about and I am hopeful and I’ll continue to meet with these guys but I haven’t had any indication that they will not be returning. Timeline wise they have to stay in school from now until May and get their business taken care of and then we will go from there.”
On what he learned from Dale Brown…
“The big thing was riding around with him and going to different events and functions with him. I know what Coach Brown has gone through building the program and living in Louisiana and having the opportunity to witness it and they having an “inside basketball” show you were able to see that. The biggest thing I gained from Coach Brown was how important it was making sure your players know how much you care about them. I think these players understand and I told them last night that they don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care. We knew that Coach Brown cared when we played. I think when I was coaching with him he knew how important it was to have relationships with his team to get those guys to play hard. The thing he did so much which you can appreciate as a basketball coach is that he simplified things. He talked so often about John Wooden and his time that he spent with him was simplified and not trying to complicate things. We have been able to do that and I do a lot of that with our program. We run a different style defense in terms of what we do. It is not as freakish as his freak defense. We kind of pull a little off of it. The things that I have learned have helped me excel as a basketball coach.”
On noticing that the Deaf Dome is not what it used to be…
“Absolutely. I can tell you quite often, I would walk out there and in an arena of that magnitude, and I remember walking out for that North Texas game and the crowd just wasn’t there and hasn’t been there. I was amazed this year LSU played Marquette, a top-25 team, and usually when we played a top-25 or ranked team, we didn’t wait for a Kentucky to come in here, we sold tickets and other folks had to stand outside because they couldn’t get tickets. In a sense, it used to bother me and I’m sure it was nothing they could control, but that is one of the things I want to get back and change and make sure that we have some folks that are supposed to sit in their seats and that we are playing the style of ball that keeps them on their feet and cheering. We want to be rocking that place like it used to be with those front row lunatics and that student section when they are in there cutting up.”
LSU PLAYER QUOTES AFTER JOHNNY JONES PRESS CONFERENCE
GUARD ANTHONY HICKEY
On remaining at LSU …
“I’m here for the long run. I wasn’t thinking about transferring. It’s just rumors in a close league. I want this to be my family, so this is my family.”
“I’m going to be here for my team and our new coach. I have a good enough relationship with him already. I might have to talk to him one-on-one, but he talked to us as a group. I liked what he was saying.”
On Coach Jones’ playing style …
“Getting the ball in the net like Coach Jones said, that’s something I’ve been doing my whole life, just pushing. With him coming in and wanting to do the same thing, that’s a great connection that we’ve had. We’re going to build up a family again.”
On Coach Jones …
“He’s very poised. Being a player who can be coached by a coach who already played here, that’s another blessing. He’s all about the players and all about winning, and that’s one thing a good coach can do, is be all about winning.”
“He already played here. He wants to build up the Deaf Dome again and sell out tickets, not just because a ranked team is coming out. As players, we want to see more fan support too. I look at the football team, and I wish the basketball team could do that too. It’s all about building it up and everybody coming back out to be a big family again.”
FORWARD JOHNNY O’BRYANT III
On Coach Johnny Jones …
“He sounds very excited to coach us, and I’m very excited to play for him. I think playing against North Texas, they have players that get up and down the court and I think their playing style is going to fit us great. With Anthony (Hickey) pushing the ball and me running the floor, I think Coach Jones will be a great coach for us. I’m excited to play for him.”
On rumors of him and Anthony Hickey‘s transferring …
“We did want to see who they were going to bring in to coach us. We thought about that a lot. It wasn’t anything serious about me leaving.”
GUARD ANDRE STRINGER
On Coach Johnny Jones …
“When we were talking to him, my first impression was that he is ready to coach us. Obviously, he has a lot of things we would like to do as far as offense goes. He’s a laidback guy. Obviously, we know that he’s going to get whatever he wants out of us. We are going to play hard for him.”
On players’ loyalty to LSU …
“I think Coach (Jones) is great, but I think our guys made a commitment to LSU. We didn’t make a commitment to just a coach. When we came to this school, we made a commitment. It’s a great school academically for us. We had a great coach coming in, and obviously we know (Coach Jones) is a great coach too. We made more of a commitment to the school.”
On meeting Coach Jones …
“It was great. Obviously, he talked to us, and we felt comfortable with him. We related to him very well, and we know it’s going to be a lot of fun with the way he coaches and the style of play we’re going to be playing.”
On Coach Jones’ playing style …
“It’s a little bit different. Obviously we took our time more with Coach Johnson, but now Coach (Jones) is stressing that we’re going to run and we’re going to push the ball. It’s going to be a little different, and we’re going to have to learn how to do that. I think that plays to our playing field.”
On the fans …
“Obviously, we know that our fans have been great. We know that they bleed purple and gold like (Coach Jones) talked about today. The more people we can get in the PMAC, the more exciting the games are going to be and the more excited we’ll be to play.”
Quotes, Tweets and Blogs Regarding the Hiring of Johnny jones as LSU Men’s Basketball Coach:
From LSU All-American, Former NBA Superstar, Shaquille O’Neal:
“LSU has hired a man in Coach Johnny Jones that any player in this nation would want to play for, because he’s a player’s coach and a man of his word. My three years at LSU were the best three years of my life, and he was part of my development that I will never forget. In May, I will receive my Doctorate Degree, and this doctor prescribes LSU and Coach Jones to make their dreams come true.”
From Kansas Coach Bill Self:
“I am very happy for Johnny. He loves LSU. I can’t think of a better fit. He and his staff have done a remarkable job at North Texas. We’ve competed against them. His teams are always well prepared. He’s recruited well wherever he has been. I anticipate LSU competing for championships in the very near future.”
Tweet from North Carolina State Head Basket Coach Mark Gottfried, former Alabama HC:
“So happy for my former asst. Johnny Jones who is new coach @LSUBasketball phenomenal coach and friend. Could not have a better hire.”
Tweet from ESPN announcer Dick Vitale:
“Gr8 hire by LSU in Johnny Jones – will recruit big-time players. Personality +”
Former LSU head basketball Coach Dale Brown:
“I compliment Joe Alleva for making a thorough search with his staff (without hiring an expensive search firm) to find the very best basketball coach for LSU, Louisiana and all the LSU fans scattered around the world. We all got much more than a basketball coach. We got a person with integrity, humor, superb work ethic, strong-willed, a unifier, a disciplinarian, and a bright and pleasant gentleman. There is no down side with the “bullet” from DeRidder.
“Hold on to your seats, this will be an exciting ride!”
Duke Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski on Johnny Jones Being Named LSU Head Coach:
“LSU made a terrific hire in Johnny Jones. He is a passionate leader who knows how to win. He did an amazing job in 11 seasons at North Texas and has proven he’s a championship coach. Furthermore, his strong ties to the Tiger program as both an outstanding player and assistant coach under Dale Brown will be vital in reestablishing LSU Basketball as a national power.”
CBS Sports Personality Tim Brando:
“The hiring of Johnny Jones could not have come at a better time for both LSU and Johnny. I have known him since he was a freshman at LSU – on Dale Brown’s first Final Four team in 1981. Jones did a tremendous job while interim Head Coach at Memphis and became a proven winner at North Texas. The DeRidder, La. native knows the landscape of college basketball recruiting in the state. He brings instant credibility to the movers and shakers in high school and AAU basketball. I fully expect the Golden Era of LSU basketball, to be re-born with Johnny Jones as Head Coach.”
From former Tigers point guard Ethan Martin (member 1981 NCAA Final Four Team) (courtesy of WAFB.com):
“It’s great news,” says Martin. “It couldn’t happen to a better guy than Johnny Jones. He’s waited his time. He did a great job at North Texas and I think he’ll do a great job at LSU. The past with Johnny Jones was great. Hopefully he can take the past, into the future.”
Former Tiger All-American, Durand “Rudy” Macklin (member 1981 NCAA Final Four Team):
“How well do I think Johnny Jones will do as LSU’s head basketball coach? Well, for starters, he can recruit with the best of them, knowing the state of Louisiana like the back of his hand from all the high school coaches, upcoming players, community leaders and every back-woods small town to big metropolitan cities. JJ has an extensive reach in states like Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee and Alabama. His style of play will be fast-pace, up and down the court excitement–something fans have been hoping to return.
“Another reason why JJ is the perfect choice as LSU’s basketball coach is that he wants this job to be his last stop. So many coaches that come from outside the state would use this job as a means to a better high paying job elsewhere. It is very difficult to establish a winning tradition when you change coaches every 5-6 years or less. We, LSU, needs a coach that will be around for 20 years or better and win consistently that will make it easier to reel in top recruits.
“Finally, Johnny is a people person. He can walk in a room full of people and know everyone’s name before he leaves. He presents well, explain issues and matters in detail so that ordinary people can understand where he’s coming from and where he wants to go. With all the attributes that Johnny possesses, I believe LSU’s basketball future will be a bright one.”
Former Tiger, LSU Sports Radio Network Analyst, Ricky Blanton (member 1986 NCAA Final Four Team):
“I am excited that Johnny has the opportunity to create the type of success for LSU basketball that he was a part of when he was at LSU. Johnny is a good guy and I am pulling for him.”
Former Tiger, Ned Clark (member 1953 NCAA Final Four Team) (courtesy of New Orleans Times-Picayune):
“It means a lot when you have someone from the family,” Clark said, “Someone who’s grown up here and stayed close to the program. He’s got the right personality for what we need. People will relate to him. He’ll get the things unified again.”