After a week of practice, the LSU men’s basketball team returns to the court of the Pete Maravich Assembly Center Tuesday night against Northwestern State University with a 7 p.m. tip.
Shavon Coleman had a big night against McNeese
LSU is 2-0 after wins over UCSB (77-63) and McNeese (73-48), while the Demons have three wins, including a very good road win at Campbell (71-67). Northwestern State also has home wins over Division 3 East Texas Baptist (118-77) and NAIA Hannibal-LaGrange (92-43).
LSU forward Johnny O’Bryant III, who suffered a lower leg injury in the first half of the UCSB game, returned to practice on Sunday and depending on how he goes through practice Monday and Tuesday’s game day practice, could be available for the Tigers after missing the McNeese game.
Junior college transfer Shavon Coleman filled in for O’Bryant against McNeese and scored 23 first-half points in a 25-point night to lead the Tigers.
The Tigers will likely go with Anthony Hickey (7.5 ppg, 6.0 apg), Malik Morgan (7.0 ppg, 5.5 rpg) and Charles Carmouche (9.5 ppg, 3.0 rpg) at the guards with Eddie Ludwig (4.5 ppg, 5.0 rpg) and either O’Bryant III (13 ppg, 8.0 rpg) or Coleman (15.5 ppg) at forwards.
Newcomers DeQuan Hicks (16.7 ppg) and Jalan West (15.0 ppg) lead NSU in scoring as Hicks also leads the team at 7.3 rebounds a game. The Demons are off to its best start since the 1991-92 campaign.
This will be the first of two games this week for LSU as they host Mississippi Valley State and former LSU player Chico Potts on Saturday at 7 p.m.
The LSU players and Coach Johnny Jones met with the media in the pre-game media session Monday afternoon. Here are some of the comments from that session:
Head Coach Johnny Jones
“Well, we had a long week (of practices). It’s been about a week since we’ve played McNeese State, something that I thought would be much needed to try to implement some other phases of our game, be it offensively and defensively. I thought it would probably give us some opportunity for some guys to get some rest and heal up. Unfortunately, for us, we had more guys go through injuries this week through practices, very physical practices.
“We’re happy to say that Johnny O’Bryant III was with us on the floor yesterday sparingly through practice and had an opportunity to get some reps in. We’re looking forward to (Monday) to see if he can have more of an extensive practice prior to making a decision for him to hit the floor tomorrow. He’ll definitely be needed. We’re playing a very physical and talented basketball team tomorrow night. (Northwestern State is) a group that’s averaging roughly around 93 points a game and averaging around 43 rebounds a game. They scored 118 points in one of their games so far this year. Our defensive end will definitely be tested. We’ll definitely have to rebound the basketball extremely well against a very physical team.
“The other thing is that I wanted to make sure to congratulate Joe Dean on his induction into the (College Basketball) Hall of Fame. What a great experience and tremendous honor for him for all that he’s done for college basketball in being a former LSU player and athletic director here. I think it speaks volumes for the impact that he had on not only LSU, but also the league (SEC) and college basketball in general.”
On Johnny O’Bryant’s III status for tomorrow’s game…
“I think it’s going to be more our athletic trainer (Shawn Eddy) will have an idea of how much Johnny can put on his leg. Again, we don’t want to risk anything and put him in a position that he can cause more damage or more injury to his leg. I think that that’s something that he was looking at (Sunday), trying to see how long he could go, how hard he could go. He had him in different drills and took him out of other things. It’ll be interesting today to see if he’s capable of having a more extensive practice.”
On the team being dinged up from practice this week…
“A little bit of everybody has a bump here and a lump there. So, I’ll be anxious to see exactly what we’ll have tomorrow. We’ll get through today’s practice or at least get them to practice today. We just have some guys who had some limitations on them a little bit yesterday so we’ll see where they are today.”
On adjustments being made to slow Northwestern State’s high-scoring attack…
“One, we’ve got to do a great job of taking care of the basketball. They’re turning people over 19 to 20 times a game. They’ve done a great job in terms of converting from the defense to their offense and getting easy scoring opportunities with layups because of their fast break opportunity. They’re a pressing team. We’ve got to make sure we take care of the basketball. We’ve got to make sure we rebound the basketball because they average around 43 rebounds a game. We’ve got to make sure that we keep them off the glass. Those things are going to be really important to us. If we can manage the rebounding effort and cut down on turnovers and make sure that we get attempts and get looks at the basket, that’s going to be important for us.”
On the 2012 recruiting class…
“I think we’re done in terms of our signing with the early signing period. We’ll have to kind of reevaluate where we are at the end of the season. We’ll probably just see how many other guys we will probably attract and possibly one to two more guys for sure that we’ll definitely entertain. We’ll recruit as hard as we possibly can in trying to fill those other spots as well. We think we’ve had a tremendous recruiting class, the early class coming in with the guys we have returning on this team should give us a very solid core team. We think that we’ve answered all the positions that we went in the early signing period wanting to fill. We think that the guys that we’re bringing in have the versatility to allow us to play a little different, which will be a huge positive for us as a team. We’re excited with all four early signees.”
On the effects of recruiting class on current team…
“I think when you look at teams and guys who generally do well or guys who come from winning programs, I think it says a lot for the impact that you can have on a program or your difference maker. Anytime you’re looking to play at the next level, I think you have to make an impact where you are. I think anytime you have really good players around you, it will allow for that to happen because you have the ability to really showcase your talent on a whole different level. I think both of those guys [Johnny O’Bryant III and Anthony Hickey], with the nucleus of guys that we have coming in, with the experience they have, will give us that opportunity to challenge at a different level.”
On the impact of Johnny O’Bryant’s III absence…
“I think what they’ve shown is their ability to really play together. I think you look at our stats, and we’ve had different guys who have led us in scoring. We have guys that are very capable. With that being said, I think if we can continue to trust each other and no one on this team has the burden of feeling that they’ve got to go out and score x amount of points every night just for us to be good, to impact the game. I think if we can get in and do what these guys have done – share the basketball, trust each other, play extremely hard, some great things can happen for us. I don’t think you have to have any conceived idea who has to score x amount of points night in and night out for us to be a solid basketball team.”
On the break in the schedule….
“I think the more experienced team that you have, the more you’d like to be playing right now. I think in our case it’s been really good for us because it has allowed for us to evaluate where we are, work on our offense putting different things in and try to really fine-tune offensively the things that we have in place right now. We have tape, and we’ve played some other division-one opponents. That’s been helpful for us. When you get into the meat of your schedule, you don’t really have any down time to really do that. I‘m hopeful that will help us in the next few games.”
F Johnny O’Bryant III
On whether it is frustrating to be injured this season after facing an injury last season as well…
“It was very frustrating, but I took it better this year. Last year I hurt my hand, and I was just down all the time. Guys had to cheer me up. After suffering this injury, I was cool about it. You know, just rehabbing every day and cheering my teammates on. I just can’t wait to get back.”
On whether or not he’s rushed to get back on the court…
“I didn’t try to come back before it was time. I didn’t try to cheat it or anything so I just rehab with him every day. We try simple things every day like running and jumping. The more I show him (Athletic Trainer Shawn Eddy) I can do those things, the better he felt. He finally let me get into practice (Sunday).”
Thoughts on Shavon Coleman’s performance last Tuesday against McNeese State….
“Shavon [Coleman] played great. I remember when he was actually in that zone, I was on the bench messing with him. He was trying hard not to smile, but I knew he wanted to smile. Shavon played great, and he’s a hard playing kid. I definitely think we have players that are capable of doing that every single night, going out and scoring and having big halves. Shavon was that player that night.”
On his status for Tuesday night…
“I haven’t heard any word. I’m definitely going to practice today. I have that goal so we’re going to see. I don’t really know yet.”
On contributing from the get-go…
“I just wanted to just come in and do my part. That’s all I wanted to do. I just want to be that guy that brings the intensity and whatever coach needs.”
On the support he’s gotten from older players on the team…
“They have all been a great help on adjusting to the system and to the college game. I’ve been getting a lot of support from them in practice and in games.”