After months of offseason pickup games and strength and conditioning work, the LSU men’s basketball team began its final push toward the 2014-15 season Wednesday.
Coach Johnny Jones kicked off his third season by putting the Tigers through a workout that lasted a little less than 2½ hours in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center practice facility.
Jones said his team worked on a lot of aspects of the game in its first practice — including fundamentals, passing, rebounding, transition defense and offense, and some fast-break principles.
“We were excited to get started for the first full day of practice, and the guys came out like they were supposed to … they got after it,” Jones said. “They were enthusiastic and eager to learn.
“We were able to put some new things in, and they picked them up well,” he said. “The new guys did an excellent job picking things up and allowed us to do a lot of things in our first day. We got a lot accomplished.”
Jones welcomed back starters Jordan Mickey and Jarell Martin. The Tigers also have three others who got playing time last season and six newcomers to the program — including three members of a top-15 recruiting class in Jalyn Patterson, Elbert Robinson III and Aaron Epps.
“Obviously, we have a lot of things to clean up and a long way to go, but it really was encouraging what we saw with this group for the first time,” Jones said.
On the day of its first practice, the LSU men’s basketball program was listed as a “team on the rise” by Terrance Payne of the NBC Sports’ College Basketball Talk website.
LSU, which was 20-14 last season and reached the second round of the National Invitation Tournament, returns Mickey and Martin, as well as three highly regarded freshmen and a pair of top transfers in Keith Hornsby and Josh Gray.
Payne wrote: “With Jarell Martin and Jordan Mickey — joined by Elbert Robinson III — the Tigers will have no shortage of size on the frontline. The backcourt will be new with JUCO point guard Josh Gray and 6-foot-4 transfer Keith Hornsby. LSU is one of several SEC teams looking to join Kentucky and Florida in the Big Dance.”
Season tickets for the 2014-15 men’s and women’s basketball campaigns are available at the LSU athletics ticket office and online at www.LSUtix.net.
After an exhibition game with Morehouse on Nov. 7, the Tigers open the regular season on Nov. 15 against Gardner Webb in the PMAC.
The Lady Tigers will play exhibitions on Nov. 5 and Nov. 9 and open the regular season on Nov. 14 against Arkansas-Little Rock.
Men’s season tickets start at $100, while the women’s tickets start at $75.
Mini-ticket plans for the 2014-15 season will go on sale in early November along with single nonconference game tickets.
Visit LSUtix.net or call the LSU Athletics Ticket Office (800) 960-8587 or (225) 578-2184.
Martin has changed his jersey number from No. 12 to No. 1. Former LSU guard Anthony Hickey wore that number for three years before leaving the program last spring. … LSU fans will get their first opportunity to see this year’s men’s and women’s teams on Oct. 17 in the second annual “Bayou Madness” event at the PMAC. The event begins outside with a pep rally at 6:45 p.m., and the court activities begin inside at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free.
Follow Sheldon Mickles on Twitter @MicklesAdvocate.