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LSU Basketball Media Day and Open Practice Round-Up

28 of 30 NBA teams sent scouts or execs to Baton Rouge to attend LSU's open practice. Here's what they saw and heard.

Ben Simmons meets the media.
Ben Simmons meets the media.
Steve Franz/LSUSports.net

Tuesday and Wednesday, the LSU Basketball team held an open practice for NBA Scouts and Media. Tuesday’s practice was streamed live on the SEC Network and WatchESPN, and 28 of the 30 NBA team’s sent scouts or executives This represents a huge step for the program, as this sort of personalized "NBA Combine" is usually reserved for the Kentucky's hype juggernauts. With Simmons, Blakeney, and Quarterman generating interest for this year’s upcoming draft, this was a great opportunity for the team to show off to the public the progress they’ve made since the Australia trip.

Day 1 included one on ones, fastbreak drills, and full court scrimmaging. Wednesday was somewhat similar, as Coach Jones met with the Media for about an hour before the team practiced, going through various types of different drills (both team and individual) before ending with a full court scrimmage. The team showed off is versatility and depth during these sessions, especially Simmons who played a variety of different positions/roles during the scrimmages.

Some Highlights:

Simmons on pressure because of scouts

"I don’t really get nervous when I step on the court. It’s something I’ve been doing since I was four years old, so I enjoy it."

Blakeney on presence of scouts:

"I think it’s real cool having a lot of people come in being able to watch us practice and evaluate us, but really the biggest thing is about us getting better every day. We know it’s a process getting better; it’s not going to happen over night. Every day in practice we’re getting better, and every single minute you’re on the court, it’s about getting better and not wasting time, because you can’t get that time back."

Hornsby on his playing style:

"I really just have more of a chip on my shoulder all of the time. You look at me. People have underrated me, and they continue to throughout my whole life. They probably always will. It’s fine. It’s almost like a little bit of a blessing because it serves as a constant motivator. That helps me. I wouldn’t say it’s really a blue-collar thing. It’s just how my mind is set, how I’ve made myself think."

Quarterman on the team’s physicality:

"That’s just the way we want to play. We’re just a tough team, and we’re never going to let up if it’s a loose ball. We’re going to get after it, and we need every possession. That’s how we have to go into the season. We just want to get every loose ball and every possession that we can and just fight for it. That’s going to be the basis of our season: just fight for every win."

Coach Jones on the Shot Clock changing from 35 to 30 seconds:

Well, we're excited about it. We've been one of the nation leaders in scoring, and at the same time in our conference been in like the top three. It's been great for us. We're a high-scoring offense, high-powered offense. The pace that we play at is exciting. We've scored over 70-something points a game, and I think it's beneficial for us. We play quick. We look forward to pushing the ball with pace and getting up the floor and creating quick scoring opportunities.

Jones on Bench Depth:

Yeah, if we have our druthers, hopefully we can get those guys between 28 and 30-something-odd minutes would be good, would be a perfect scenario for us. Extending the defense will allow that. We weren't able to press as much because our numbers were limited, again, last year, then we went through some injuries that made it difficult with the RPI and how important things are. It was very difficult for us last year to put ourselves in position to use a bench when you play a tough schedule and it's demanding and games are close. You don't rotate your bench as much because each possession is so important.

Coach Jones also mentioned during his question and answer that the team has a particularly familial feel to it this year, and that they guys cherish their opportunity to push and get after each other during practice. The main area of concern seems to the post from Coach Jones on down to the players, but there is also a great deal of optimism about Elbert Robinson progression, and the eventual addition of Craig Victor in December. All in all, the program is embracing the increased level of attention and scrutiny it's received since Simmons' arrival on campus, including the raised expectations that come with bringing in an elite and "potentially transcendent" talent.