BLOG — Marshall Henderson will return to the Ole Miss lineup Wednesday night and LSU coach Johnny Jones is very aware of that fact.
Jones said preparing for Henderson, who missed the first two games of the Southeastern Conference schedule due to a suspension, is very difficult since there isn’t anything for him or his staff to watch.
“It’s hard to simulate what he’s really doing out there on the floor. He’s really quick and catching and shooting and he hasn’t been making difficult shots and plays. You know that he’s probably going to be screened for and you have to make sure you get off screens and trying to make sure you’re there on the catch with it,” Jones said during this morning’s SEC teleconference with the media. “It’s one of those games where you know you’re going to be in a battle all night long and you’re just hopeful, knowing he’s going to score, you try to contest him and try to contain him most of the night.”
Ole Miss enters Wednesday’s home game with the Tigers with a 1-1 mark in SEC play. LSU is also 1-1 in the SEC.
Jones was also asked his thoughts on the development of junior forward Johnny O’Bryant, a native of Cleveland.
“We think Johnny has made some real positive strides for us. He really finished the year strong for us last year. He had a tremendous summer and Johnny is a part of everyone’s scouting report now. A lot of times, the teams that we’re playing, their defense has been designed to try and take Johnny away from us and when that’s happened, he’s made the extra pass. He’s played well,” Jones said of O’Bryant, who is averaging 14.4 points and 7.4 rebounds per game.
Jones thought that O’Bryant did play better when he visited Ole Miss, or Mississippi State, like a lot of players do when they come back to their home state.
“I think it’s a normal reaction for most young men because you have the opportunity to have family and friends most of the time there in attendance when you play at one of the state schools where you have grown up. You want to make sure you have a great showing there and I think it’s no different … I’m sure a lot of pro athletes feel the same way,” Jones said. “I do think you have a little added weight but we try to make sure they don’t lose concentration and focus and that they play between those lines once we throw the ball up. It’s not where you’re playing but how you execute and the impact that you’re able to make for your team.”
Kennedy called not being able to sign O’Bryant to Ole Miss “very painful” because he knew he could become one of the best front line players in the country.
“We spent a lot of time and energy recruiting Johnny. He’s just up the road from us and we knew he was going to be a tremendous talent and nothing he has done at LSU hasn’t been surprising to me. I felt like he was a guy that was going to come in and make an immediate impact, which he did as a freshman,” Kennedy said. “As he evolved into sophomore season, he was an all-league caliber player like we anticipated. Now he’s one of the best front court players in all of college basketball. I’m proud to see him develop. He’s a good kid from a good family. I certainly wish he was wearing the red, white and blue on Wednesday.”
For more on Wednesday’s Ole Miss-LSU matchup, see Tuesday’s edition of the EAGLE. (January 13, 2014)