Jones Takes Part in SEC Summer Teleconference

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Jones Takes Part in SEC Summer Teleconference

BATON ROUGE – The Southeastern Conference held its summer basketball teleconference on Monday and Coach Johnny Jones of LSU joined the league coaches and new commissioner Greg Sankey to discuss various topics during the session.

Here are some of Coach Jones’ comments from the teleconference:

Opening comments…
“We’re excited and looking forward to another challenging season in a great conference. We were fortunate enough to have two guys (Jarell Martin and Jordan Mickey) that put themselves in a great position after two years to be drafted, one in the first round and the other in the top of the second round. We are also fortunate enough to have a pretty good recruiting class combining with a good group of guys returning from last year. We look forward to the bonding and chemistry with this team. We hope to move forward and hopefully challenge to be at the top of the league again next season.”

On the newly implemented rules
“It won’t change much of what we do. We are certainly an upbeat, face-paced, playing team. We love playing in transition. I don’t think it will affect a lot of the things we do. I think some teams in the country that preferably would like to slow it down and have less possessions I think it may have more of an adverse effect on them in changing the way that they like to play. I think that it is going to be exciting. I am excited about the new rule change. I think that it will be beneficial, not only for the teams, but for the fans who come out and support and enjoy the basketball games.”

On new staff members John Treloar (hiring) and Al Pinkins (hiring)…
“I think John Treloar has done a tremendous job over the years. I had an opportunity to follow him at LSU when he was an assistant before when they ended up playing in the Final Four in 2006. My nephew had the privilege of working with him with the Phoenix Suns as a scout. He had the opportunity of getting to know John, as well. Just being around John and getting to know him over the years when the opportunity presented itself to have him come in and do a tremendous job with his knowledge and experience … His experiences both on the college and professional level have been extremely beneficial. I think Al Pinkins has also done a tremendous job. I have known him for quite some time and have watched him from afar. The last several years I think that he has helped impact the Ole Miss basketball program. Coach (Andy) Kennedy obviously recommended him highly. Then what he was able to do in one season at Tennessee in terms of recruiting and coaching and scouting; in practice, and helping in recruiting preparations there, makes us excited for him. In just the short time we have been together his recruiting ability has shown. His on-court awareness is also great. He has done a tremendous job on individual skill work with our young guys, as well.”

On the highly rated freshmen class…
“I am really excited about all of them. I think they each bring something different. Ben Simmons (watch interview) has done a tremendous job leading up to having the opportunity to play at this level in college. Ben’s ability to handle and distribute the ball makes people around him better. At 6’10” and about 240 pounds he has been fun to watch and work with. Antonio Blakeney (watch interview) and his ability to really shoot the ball … He is skilled, plays extremely hard and is passionate about the game. He’s a gym rat. He’s looking to continue to improve and get better. Brandon Sampson (watch Interview) is probably one of the less heralded kids, but he has done an excellent job. I have had the chance to watch him over the years. He played with Jarell Martin in high school. To watch Brandon be able to shoot the basketball, and the way that he plays and the passion he has for the game … I am really excited about those three young men. We had a young man who had to sit out last year, Craig Victor, who transferred in from Arizona. We think that he will be another great addition to our team. So, those three freshmen, along with Craig Victor, I think will try and help fill that big void left from Jordan Mickey and Jarell Martin leaving.”

On the anticipation of the fans compared to past seasons …
“I’d like to think that what these guys have done over the last couple of years, especially talking about two freshmen that won over 40-something basketball games – Jordan Mickey and Jarell Martin – the impact they’ve had along with the other guys we’ve had on our team. Even Jalyn Patterson coming in as a freshman, Tim Quarterman going from his freshmen year to his sophomore year and the impact that Keith Hornsby had on the team last year, I think that brings a lot of excitement to our fan base. When you culminate with a great recruiting class and the guys that are coming in, we have a lot to sell. We made it to the NCAA tournament last year and the NIT tournament the year before. I think our fan base has had an opportunity to see the rise of a program in at least how we’ve continue to improve each year. To have a lot of those guys back, and the number one high school player in the country, I think lends for that excitement. We are excited about our fan base. I think it is going to be comparable to some of the better years that we have had in LSU basketball during my time here.”