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LSU to face Marquette in opening game of Legends Classic

The LSU men’s basketball team has known for nine months that it would participate in the Legends Classic in Brooklyn, New York, along with three potential opponents, in the two-day event this November.

On Thursday morning, the Tigers learned who they will play and tipoff time.

ESPN and tournament officials announced LSU will face Marquette in the opening game of the Legends Classic on Monday, Nov. 23 at 6 p.m. CST in the Barclays Center.

The game will be televised by ESPN2.

The second game of the first night will have North Carolina State facing Arizona State in the Barclays Center, which serves as the home of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets.

The two winners of the opening-night games will meet the next evening at 7 p.m. CST for the tournament title on ESPN2. The losers from the first night will play in a consolation game at 4:30 p.m. on ESPNU.

A possible LSU-North Carolina State matchup in the final or the consolation game would be interesting because N.C. State eliminated LSU from the NCAA tournament last March 19 with a last-seconds 66-65 victory in Pittsburgh.

North Carolina State forward BeeJay Anya connected on a left-handed hook in the lane with 0.1 seconds left, which capped an 18-3 run down the stretch for the Wolfpack and into the third round of the tournament.

Even with Thursday’s announcement by ESPN, LSU’s schedule for the upcoming season continues to be a work in progress with only a handful of nonconference games having been confirmed so far.

The Tigers will play home games on Nov. 16 against Kennesaw State and Nov. 19 against South Alabama in a pair of contests that are connected to the Legends Classic as regional-round games.

ESPN announced Thursday that the game with Kennesaw State will be televised by ESPNU.

LSU will also play at the University of Houston on Dec. 13, and host Gardner-Webb on Dec. 16 and Wake Forest on Dec. 29.

The Tigers also have a home game on Jan. 30 against Oklahoma as part of the Southeastern Conference/Big 12 Challenge.

The SEC schedule is expected to be released later this month.

LSU listed as No. 5 seed on Joe Lunardi’s debut bracket

If LSU is having full-scale practices two months before the start of its regular preseason workouts, which is permissible because of the Tigers’ 13-day  Australian tour that begins Tuesday, it can’t be too early for a little bracketology by ESPN’s Joe Lunardi, can it?

Lunardi released his first bracket or the 2016 NCAA tournament on Tuesday, 7 1/2 months before the 68-team field is officially announced, and lists LSU as a No. 5 seed in the East Region.

That’s the second-highest seed for a Southeastern Conference team among the six league schools Lunardi penciled in on his bracket. LSU was paired with 12th-seeded Buffalo at Providence, Rhode Island.

Lunardi has Kentucky as a No. 1 seed, followed by LSU, Texas A&M (No. 7), Vanderbilt (No. 9), Georgia (No. 11) and Arkansas (No. 12).

Last season, the SEC had five teams in the NCAA tournament: Kentucky, Arkansas, Georgia, LSU and Ole Miss.

LSU forward Bridgewater sidelined by leg injury

LSU coach Johnny Jones said Tuesday that junior forward Brian Bridgewater has a leg injury and may not be able to play during the Tigers’ upcoming five-game exhibition tour of Australia.

During Tuesday’s practice, the fourth day the team was allowed to hold full-scale workouts in preparation for its trip, Bridgewater rode a stationary bike during a 30-minute window that the media was allowed to watch.

“Something happened and he wound up going to the doctor (Monday),” Jones said. “I’m not sure if he’s going to participate while we’re away. It’s going to be day-to-day for him.

“If he’s able to get better, he may be able to participate in a game or two. But he’s injured right now.”

Bridgewater averaged 2.2 points and 1.1 rebounds a game in 29 games last season, his first with the Tigers.

After a day off Wednesday, LSU will return to practice Thursday and continue that routine daily until departing for Australia on Aug. 11.

LSU men’s team kicks off preps for Australia trip

The LSU basketball team has begun preparations for its exhibition trip to Australia with practice sessions on Saturday and Sunday.

The Tigers began a 10-day practice period allowed by the NCAA on Saturday evening with a 1-hour, 40-minute workout that was closed to media and then worked again Sunday as they get ready for a 13-day trip that will include five games professional teams and all-star teams.

Besides the normal opening practice fundamentals, LSU worked on 5-on-5 defense, rebounding and shooting drills, according to a university news release. The team also began some offensive 5-on-0 walkthroughs and concluded with two competitive five-minute 5-on-5 full court sessions.

“It was a good first practice for us,” LSU coach Johnny Jones said. “It was great to watch the energy, effort and excitement of our players as they went through the drills. They practiced extremely hard. We have a long way to go, but I loved the effort from our guys (Saturday).”

Two big differences the Tigers will have to get used to is the type of ball used in Australia and an extended 3-point arc. The National Basketball League plays with the Molten tan and white paneled basketball and uses the international 6.75-meter 3-point line, which is 22 feet, 1 inch from the basket compared to the 20-9 of NCAA play. The team, which used the Molten brand basketballs, also practiced with the professional 24-second clock.

“It can be a mental thing if you allow it to,” Jones said. “But we are going to be practicing with those and getting used to it because that’s what we are going to have to play with when we get over there. It’s a little different, but it’s something I think our guys can get used to rather quickly.”

LSU will depart for the trip on the evening of Aug. 11, with games set for Aug. 15, 16, 18, 20 and 22.


LSU freshmen Simmons, Blakeney on ‘Top 50 Best Players’ list for 2015-16

LSU freshman Ben Simmons tops the list of the “The 50 Best Players in College Basketball for 2015-16″ published by USA Today’s Jason McIntyre.

Simmons’ teammate at LSU, incoming freshman Antonio Blakeney, also made the fifth annual preseason list put together by McIntyre, who ranks the players on four criteria: how they’ve played in college or in their last year in high school, how he projects them as a player next season, individual skill and value to the team, and how he projects them as a pro.

Simmons, a 6-foot-10 forward, was the nation’s top-ranked player for most of his senior season, but now gets top billing with a No. 1 ranking against all incoming freshmen and players returning to college next season.

Blakeney, a 6-4 shooting guard who was a summer ball teammate of Simmons the last couple of years in Florida, was 18th on McIntyre’s list.

A pair of Kentucky freshmen, Skal Labissiere and Jamal Murray, were second and third on the list behind Simmons.

LSU men’s basketball names Brendan Suhr as associate coach

LSU men’s basketball coach Johnny Jones has again chosen a coach with vast NBA experience to complete his staff for the 2015-16 season.

Jones on Tuesday named former Detroit Pistons assistant coach Brendan Suhr, an assistant on Chuck Daly’s staff when the Pistons won the NBA championship in 1989 and 1990, to be his associate coach for the upcoming season. He replaces John Treloar, a former Phoenix Suns director of player personnel who was hired by Jones in mid-April but never began working for LSU after he was expected to join the staff on July 1.

Suhr has also worked under former NBA coaches Hubie Brown and Lenny Wilkens, who, like Daly, are in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

The 64-year-old Suhr spent more than 25 years in the NBA and was on the bench for more than 2,500 games with the Atlanta Hawks (1979-88), Pistons (1988-92, 2000-01), New Jersey Nets (1992-94), Toronto Raptors (1996-97), Orlando Magic (1997-99) and New York Knicks (2004-07). He was the head scout for the USA’s “Dream Team” that won the gold medal at the 1992 Olympic Games and served an assistant coach for the NBA all-star game in 1988 and 1990.

He also was Detroit’s vice president/director of player personnel (1999-2000) and was the Knicks’ director of player personnel during his three-year stay there. Along the way, Suhr helped coach Hall of Famers Adrian Dantley, Joe Dumars, Dennis Rodman, Isiah Thomas and Dominique Wilkins.

More recently, Suhr, the founder and president of the speaking and consulting firm Off the Court, Inc., has been part of the Central Florida coaching staff since 2010. In addition to his duties as an assistant coach, he also served as director of program development.

Suhr will be on hand when the Tigers begin 10 days of allotted practice days this weekend in advance of their exhibition tour of Australia. LSU leaves on Aug. 11 and will play five games against teams from Australia’s National Basketball League as well as area pro all-star teams.

“We are very excited with the addition of Coach Brendan Suhr to our coaching staff,” Jones said in a university news release. “He brings a great deal of experience with a wealth of knowledge that will certainly be very beneficial and impactful for our LSU basketball program and players. We look forward to him starting here this week as we begin to prepare for our upcoming trip and games in Australia.”

“I had seen LSU play a lot in the past year, and I’ve been watching them since Johnny has been back for his three years,” Suhr said. “I’m very impressed with what he has done with this program. Philosophically, in our visits over the last month, we are totally on the same page, basketball-wise.”

In addition to his college coaching experience with UCF, Suhr, who played collegiately at Montclair State in New Jersey, was also on the staff at the University of Detroit and Fairfield before beginning his NBA career with the Hawks.

LSU star Seimone Augustus again a WNBA All-Star, but …

Former LSU great and Baton Rouge native Seimone Augustus has been selected as a starter for Saturday’s WNBA All-Star Game in Uncasville, Connecticut.

Unfortunately, though, Augustus is sitting out the game because of an injury.

The Minnesota Lynx guard has missed her team’s last three games after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery July 17. A report on the team’s website lists the 10-year WNBA veteran as out indefinitely.

Nonetheless it’s a significant honor for Augustus. This is her third straight WNBA All-Star selection and sixth time she’s been named as an All-Star in her career.

Augustus received the third-most votes among Western Conference players with 9,599, behind only Skylar Diggins of Tulsa (15,895 votes) and Minnesota teammate Maya Moore (13,706).


An All-WNBA selection in each of the last four seasons, Augustus is averaging 15.4 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game in 13 starts this season.


A two-time national player of the year at LSU and a two-time Olympic gold medalist, Augustus is one of 13 players in WNBA history to amass 4,500 points, 900 rebounds, 500 assists, 200 steals and 100 blocks.

She recently moved into 16th place on the league’s all-time scoring list with 4,784 career points, which is a Minnesota franchise record.

Augustus is the only former LSU player named to this year’s WNBA All-Star Game (Saturday, 2:30 p.m., ABC).

LSU coach Johnny Jones helps open new basketball court

The first two “Johnny Jones Courts For Kids” golf events resulted in the ribbon cutting Tuesday of a new basketball court, which is located at Expressway Park and South 11th Street in Baton Rouge.

The park features a playground, recreation center, picnic areas, a football practice field, and a trailhead to the Downtown Greenway. The outdoor basketball court was made possible through the efforts of golf tournament sponsor Walk-On’s and Jones’ courts program.

Funds raised through the Courts for Kids golf tournament went toward the construction of the court, which cost $22,000. The mission of the Courts for Kids program is to refurbish courts in local communities around Louisiana.

This particular court was formerly a tennis court that has been refurbished and made into one full basketball court and a half-basketball court. Other new amenities include new fencing, new basketball goals, bleachers, and a newly-painted surface featuring the BREC and Walk-On’s logos.

Jones, who is entering his fourth season as the head basketball coach at LSU, will continue to host tournaments to raise funds for more courts. The date for the next tournament will be announced soon by the LSU Basketball Office.

LSU to play Wake Forest on Dec. 29 in PMAC

Another piece to the LSU men’s basketball schedule for the upcoming season has come into focus.

Wake Forest announced Tuesday that the Demon Deacons will visit LSU on Dec. 29 to begin a home-and-home series between the two schools.

The Tigers will complete the two-year deal with a trip to Winston-Salem, North Carolina, during the 2016-17 season.

So far, only five of LSU’s nonconference games that have been identified have an actual date.

They are at home against Kennesaw State (Nov. 16), South Alabama (Nov. 19), Wake Forest (Dec. 29) and Oklahoma (Jan. 30) and on the road at Houston (Dec. 13).

LSU will play two games in the Legends Classic at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, Nov. 23-24, but the Tigers still don’t know who they’ll play. The other three teams in the event are Arizona State, Marquette and North Carolina State.

Former LSU player Randolph named to U.S. Pan Am Games team

Former LSU basketball player Anthony Randolph was named Sunday to the 12-man team that will represent the United States in the Pan American Games, which are being held in Toronto, Canada.

Randolph was among the players who were picked Sunday from a roster of 16 finalists after the final practice for the Pan Am competition that will begin July 21.

Randolph, who played at LSU for one season in 2007-08, plays for the Lokomotiv team in Russia. He was chosen with the 14th pick in the 2008 NBA draft by the Golden State Warriors and went on to play six seasons in the league with Golden State, Denver, Minnesota and New York. He appeared in 252 games, averaging 7.1 points and 4.3 rebounds for his career.

In his one season at LSU, Randolph averaged 15.6 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.1 steals and 2.3 blocks per game. He was the only LSU player to start all 31 games that season and ranked third in the Southeastern Conference in rebounding and blocked shots, 12th in scoring and had nine double-doubles. He was named a Freshman All-America by and was a member of the SEC’s All-Freshman team.

The U.S. men’s team will compete in Group A in the Pan Am Games. In preliminary action, the U.S. will face Venezuela on July 21, Puerto Rico on July 22 and Brazil on July 23 with all three games starting at 8 p.m. CDT.

The top two teams from each preliminary-round group will advance to the medal-round semifinals on July 24, while the third and fourth-placed teams will play for fifth through eighth place. Semifinal winners will compete for the gold medal on July 25, and the semifinal losers will play for bronze.