From LSU Sports
BIRIMINGHAM, Ala. – LSU men's basketball coach Johnny Jones took part in his first Southeastern Conference media days Thursday at the Wynfrey Hotel along with the other 13 league coaches.
Jones was joined by LSU women's coach Nikki Caldwell at the one-day event that signals the start of the 2012-13 basketball season.
Jones took part in several interview sessions with rights holder ESPN, Fox Sports and CSS along with the SEC Digital Network and College Sports Nation on satellite radio. Jones' day concluded with a session in the media room where the writers and television stations from throughout the league had an opportunity to question the first-year coach.
The Tigers will play an exhibition game on Monday, Nov. 5, at 7 p.m. against Arkansas-Monticello and admission for that game will be free. The Tigers open the season on Friday, Nov. 9, at 7 p.m. against UC Santa Barbara.
Season tickets and 3-and-5-game mini-packs of tickets are on sale at the LSU Athletics Ticket Office and online at LSUtix.net. Follow LSU Basketball on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/LSUBasketball and on Twitter @LSUBasketball.
Here are some of Coach Jones' comments from his session with the print media on Thursday:
On what practice has been like so far:
"We have had 11 practices so far, we have been excited, we think we have made some improvement each day. We're excited about the effort and the energy level that our guys have been practicing with. So, it gives us a reason to have hope."
On expectations of the 3 practice players making the team:
"We hope to make a decision soon. We are hopeful that we can possibly keep all three guys. We have to do our part with them and make sure we would like for them to be a part of our program. They have been extremely helpful in our practices we have had because of injuries or class schedule conflicts. So those three guys we would love to try and keep around if possible."
On the transition progress:
"We are hopeful with the base that we have on the guys that we have returning from last year's team. We hope that we can do a great job in terms of developing the talent level that we have and continue to recruit very aggressively. I think that if we do that, and have some consistency about it, then I think we can get it turned around a lot sooner rather than later.
On guard play:
"Anthony Hickey is a sophomore. I think the great thing for Anthony, he had the opportunity to be thrown into the fire last year and played a lot of minutes. I think he started all but one game. They say a lot of times the best thing about freshman is when they become sophomores and I think that holds true to form with a guy like Anthony as well. With the lack of experience returning from last year's team, Anthony has had to step]up and show some leadership qualities and he has really embraced that in the short time. One of the other young men who played quality minutes was Andre Stringer and he is a guy that we want to have to make sure that we look to this year as well. So our backcourt with those two guys will be really important for us."