Johnny Jones reflects on year, looks ahead

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - LSU head basketball coach Johnny Jones met with the media for a season ending press conference Tuesday afternoon, expressing disappointment over the Tigers being left out of the NIT, yet optimistic about a bright future.

Jones says his first season as the head coach may have gone "smoother than expected", considering it started with the defections of former players Justin Hamilton and Ralston Turner.

When asked if sophomore forward Johnny O'Bryant III may depart to pursue professional opportunities, Jones reiterated LSU will gather as much information to advise O'Bryant on what decision is best for him.

Jones adds that there's "a place overseas" for departing center Andrew Del Piero, saying "he's only scratched the surface" and that Del Piero "is a very bright man."

Jones says LSU will play in a high profile Thanksgiving tournament next season in Orlando, an event that will feature powers such as Oklahoma State, Memphis, Purdue, Washington State and Butler.

The coach would also like to add some high profile home games for fans to enjoy, but shares that many elite programs aren't willing to go on the road, adding "Syracuse doesn't leave their building."

The coach also had high words of praise for the Southern Jaguars and Northwestern State Demons, who are both participating in the NCAA Tournament this week. Jones says the Demons' Mike McConathy and the Jaguars' Roman Banks are both great coaches, who have done an exceptional job at their respective institutions.

For more on today's press conference, be sure to watch 9Sports tonight at 6 and 10 p.m. on WAFB-TV.

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