When the LSU basketball team departs campus Tuesday afternoon for its much-anticipated exhibition tour of Australia, senior point guard Josh Gray won’t be traveling with the Tigers.
LSU coach Johnny Jones said Monday afternoon that Gray, a Lake Charles native, won’t be making the trip because he played in a basketball game that wasn’t sanctioned beforehand by LSU Compliance.
“Over the last 48 hours, we had a little bit of a setback with Josh Gray playing in some type of game that wasn’t sanctioned prior to checking with our compliance people,” Jones said. “Until compliance goes through whatever issues that they have to and filter things out, I won’t have any further comment on it.”
When asked if the situation could affect Gray’s status with the basketball team for the upcoming season, Jones said he didn’t yet have an answer on that.
“Again, we won’t know any of that until we visit with compliance,” he said, “and they’re in the middle of dealing with that now. Until compliance finishes its findings, he will not be a part of our team.”
In his first season at LSU last year, Gray, a transfer from Odessa (Texas) Community College, played in 31 games last season with 20 starts. He averaged 7.1 points, 3.8 assists and 2.1 rebounds per game.
With Gray out of the picture for the five-game exhibition tour against Australian pro teams, which begins with a game on Saturday against the Newcastle All-Stars, Jones said sophomore Jalyn Patterson will slide into the backup point guard spot behind starter Tim Quarterman.
Patterson played some point guard last season, but was primarily a backup to shooting guard Keith Hornsby.
“We moved Jalyn over to the point guard spot, which he’s done a great job of picking things up quickly,” Jones said. “We’ve had a couple of really good days of practice there.”
Jones said forward Brian Bridgewater, who was injured shortly after the team began a 10-day practice period for the Australia trip, will accompany the team although his status is uncertain.
Jones said Bridgewater has been working with trainer Shawn Eddy, but hasn’t been able to participate in full-scale practice sessions for at least a week. Jones remains hopeful that Bridgewater may be able to play in a game or two late in the five-game tour.
“We may be able to get a couple of games out of him, if that many, over there,” Jones said. “But we will proceed with caution with him because we do have a season coming up in November. If that means playing without him (in Australia), we’re prepared to do that.”
Eddleston could benefit
If Bridgewater can’t play, junior forward Brandon Eddlestone , a walk-on from Slidell who played in three games last year and averaged one point a game, could get increased playing time.
“If Brian doesn’t play, it’ll open up an opportunity for Brandon,” Jones said. “Brandon has been waiting for an opportunity and he competed in practice the last few days. So we’ll probably get some positive minutes from him.”
No TV from Down Under
There will be no television from the Australian tour, but video highlights are expected to be available at LSUSports.net following each of the Tigers’ five games.
Sunday’s game with the Sydney Kings, the second game of the tour, will be available from the Kings’ radio network and will be streamed over LSUSports.net. Tipoff for that game is 4 a.m. CDT.
Follow Sheldon Mickles on Twitter @MicklesAdvocate.