New Basketball Hire Key To Alleva Longevity
By John Ventola
Hey Joe Alleva, even though it may be tempting to send Johnny Jones packing after LSU’s recent three-game conference swoon, just go ahead and give the former Bengal basketballer the rest of the season. As painful as it is to watch Jones send out the nation’s top recruit and some other talented cagers with no direction game after game, why not give the Dale Brown protégé a few more games to firmly establish Jones’ legacy as possibly the worst coach to ever lead the Tigers.
LSU seems to have cornered the market on coaches that can recruit, but cannot coach. Football coach Les Miles survived last November’s “is he fired” debacle when Alleva
and university president King Alexander did a fourth quarter turnaround while LSU was besting Texas A & M in its home finale. No doubt, a thumbs down that day from Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher contributed to the reprieve, Fisher turning down an offer to return to Baton Rouge where he previously served as the Tigers’ offensive coordinator.
Jones, who sat at the right hand of Brown for a number of years as an assistant, apparently learned what he could from the former Bengal roundball boss. Trouble is, recruiting and motivational skills without strategic know-how and genuine X and O ability does not bring conference championships (although Brown managed it somehow), much less national titles.
Brown rode exceptional talent (’81, Rudy Macklin, Ethan Martin) and skilled, determined athletes (’86, Ricky Blanton) to two Final Four appearances, but still finished two wins from the national title. He failed to go to the Sweet Sixteen a few years later with Chris Jackson, Shaquille O’Neal, and Stanley Roberts in the lineup. Georgia Tech, an ACC team with only one stalwart, easily eliminated the Tigers.
Give Jackson, O’Neal, and Roberts to most college coaches, and you can guarantee a Final Four, and probably chalk up a national championship. Brown won games because of talent, not because of his coaching acumen. Getting Macklin out of Kentucky, John
Williams out of California, and other skilled athletes to campus during his tenure was his hallmark. Strategy and game adjustments were his weaknesses, often exploited by the likes of Bobby Knight, and other top-notch coaches.
Jones’ hiring four years ago was pushed by Brown and Collis Temple, Sr., the first black basketball player at LSU. Temple, who had sons Collis, Jr., and Garrett (now with the Washington Wizards in the NBA) play for the Tigers, is the local AAU guru, and the man responsible for channeling recent Baton Rouge talent (Glen Davis, Tyrus Thomas) to Tigerland.
Athletic Director Alleva needs to correct what has turned into an embarrassment. True Tiger fans should hope that he has started compiling “his” list of
potential candidates, and will be primed to announce a competent coach as soon as the Tigers are eliminated from the NIT (record may not even warrant that, but Simmons alone will get bid).
There are excellent coaches out there, coaches with experience that would have taken the talent on this year’s team much farther than Jones. Much traveled Lon Kruger and Rick Barnes took Jones to the proverbial woodshed coaching-wise in recent Oklahoma and Tennessee wins.
LSU lost its twelfth game of the year Tuesday night, a 20-point blowout at Arkansas to a mediocre Razorbacks team. Much like they played against Tennessee (a 16-point loss) Saturday, the Tigers played no defense and look disorganized on offense. While Jones takes his normal sideline stance and offers his arms-folded befuddled glare, Simmons and his teammates play one-on-one offensive basketball and matador defense.
A team that came within two points of beating No. 1 Oklahoma in Baton Rouge has now lost four of its past five SEC games. Florida, which beat the Tigers in Gainesville, and
Missouri visit next before the regular season comes to a merciful end with a road trip to Kentucky.
This year’s underachieving group may win twenty games if they are able to post a couple of SEC tournament wins, but the task will not be easy. Senior leader Keith Hornsby, the hustler on the team, aggravated a sports hernia injury early in the Tennessee game. Since he went down, the team seems to be floundering (16 and 20 point losses), looking for on-court leadership.
Simmons and freshman Antonio Blakeney now seem to be the only legitimate scoring threats. Streaky Tim Quarterman was one for nine shooting against Arkansas. Anytime you have a 6’10” guy dribbling the basketball upcourt and going straight to the basket in frustration like Simmons did in the second half against Tennessee, you have lost control of your team. Simmons is an unbelievable talent. It is a shame he chose LSU when he could have gone elsewhere and filled out his overall game, a game that now lacks a consistent outside shot and free-throw concentration lapses.
Hey Joe, make a good, solid hire. Your screw-ups of the Duke lacrosse situation, and the Miles fiasco have you sitting in that AD chair rather precariously.Thanks For Visiting JV Sport Shots .Com’s Website And Viewing Our Latest Blog(s) / Page(s). We Would Really Appreciate It If You Would Leave Us A Comment Or Remark Below. This Helps Us Provide Great Sports Content; You Would Like To See In Future Posts.
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