The LSU men’s basketball coaching staff is set for the 2011-12 season, Tigers coach Trent Johnson said Monday during a Southeastern Conference teleconference.
Johnson said LSU assistant strength and conditioning coach Ryan Filo has stepped in for Juan Pablo Reggiardo, who left to take a job at Stanford. He also said he isn’t filling the director of basketball operations position vacated by Nick Robinson, who was promoted to assistant coach after Lynn Nance went back into retirement following one season on Johnson’s staff.
“Ryan Filo came over from football and has replaced J.P. at the strength and conditioning position, and I moved Nick Robinson up. There will be no more movement,” he said.
Filo, a Richfield, Wis., native, moved into a full-time position at LSU after working as a graduate assistant from January 2009-November 2010.
Robinson played for Johnson at Stanford in 2004-05 to finish his four-year career, then spent one season as his director of basketball operations. After spending the next season as an assistant coach at William Jewell College in his native Liberty, Mo., Robinson reunited with Johnson at LSU, serving as his executive assistant for one year and then as the director of basketball operations.
As the director of basketball operations, Robinson had a list of off-the-court responsibilities that included on-campus recruiting, student-athlete development, video technology, film exchange and acting as a liaison to the academic and business offices. Robinson joins Donny Guerinoni and Brent Scott as Johnson’s assistants, and Brittany Carvalhido remains the executive assistant to the head coach.
Start of a new era
Talk of single-division play in men’s basketball dominated Monday’s teleconference.
For his part, Johnson said he was in favor of the new format, and he said a 22-game conference schedule in future seasons is the way to go.
“I’m all for the one division. I think it’s the only way to basically have a true champion,” Johnson said. “There needs to be a little more research in terms of 18, 22 games - whatever it may be. But I’m in favor of a situation where everybody plays each other twice. In my experiences in the Pac-10, where everybody played each other twice, you had a true champion.”
At the SEC Spring Meetings in Destin, Fla., presidents and chancellors voted to eliminate the East and West divisions in men’s basketball. The league has been split into two divisions a la football since the SEC grew to 12 teams in 1992, but the power of the East in recent seasons created imbalance.
Teams will continue to play 16-game conference schedules this season with two games against each opponent in their own division and one against each inter-division rival, but the SEC tournament in New Orleans will have teams seeded 1-12 for the first time.
A task force consisting of SEC athletic directors and coaches has been charged with devising a new scheduling format before the 2012-13 season.
Although he and his assistants aren’t allowed much access to the players this time of year, Johnson said he is hearing good things about incoming freshmen Anthony Hickey, Johnny O’Bryant and John Isaac, who have begun taking classes at LSU and are working out with their new teammates.
“There’s nothing we can do with them with the exception of our strength coach, who’s working four days a week,” Johnson said. “But just the feedback I’m getting has been very, very positive. All three young men are in school and are doing well. They bring a level of athleticism and toughness that we have needed.”
O’Bryant, listed at 6-foot-9, 250 pounds on the LSU roster, earned Parade All-America recognition as a senior at East Side High in Cleveland, Miss. Hickey (5-10, 172) was named Kentucky’s Mr. Basketball after leading Christian County High School to a state title.
Isaac (6-4, 210) averaged 22 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists for Pickering as a senior. He was part of the Class 2A all-state first team after leading the Red Devils to the state quarterfinals.
O’Bryant will wear jersey No. 2 for LSU, Hickey No. 1 and Isaac No. 32.