Johnny Jones fired by LSU

Johnny Jones has been fired as LSU head men’s basketball coach after a disappointing 10-20 regular season. Jones will coach the Tigers’ SEC Tournament game against Mississippi State on Wednesday.

Jones, who played for Dale Brown at LSU in the early 80s, is 90-71 overall in five seasons. He started his coaching career there in 1984, spending 13 seasons on Brown’s staff. Jones returned to Baton Rouge as in 2012 after an 11-year tenure at North Texas, going 190-146 and twice reaching the NCAAT.

But it was the disappointment of last year’s team that really put Jones on the hot seat in Baton Rouge. Top recruit and eventual #1 draft pick Ben Simmons chose LSU, where his godfather – David Patrick – is associate head coach. Simmons averaged 19.2 points and 11.8 rebounds, but the team failed to succeed overall (the roster also included future NBA player Tim Quarterman). The Tigers finished 19-12, missed the NCAA Tournament and chose to skip the other postseason options. Simmons announced his intention to go pro and his time at LSU ended as quickly as it began.

Recruiting was never the issue for Jones, who also brought NBA players Jarell Martin & Jordan Mickey and current sophomore (and five-star recruit) Antonio Blakeney to LSU. The lack of success with such talented players made this a decision that AD Joe Alleva simply had to make.

So what’s next for Alleva and LSU? Names floating around include MTSU‘s Kermit Davis, Chattanooga‘s Matt McCall, VCU‘s Will Wade and Illinois State‘s Dan Muller. LSU is not the only job available in the SEC right now, after Missouri parted ways with Kim Anderson, but there is a lot to like about the opening if you are a head coach in a smaller conference. There is less pressure on basketball but great opportunity to succeed in a top-heavy SEC field. Not to mention the athletic department, if it chooses, can shell out big bucks to hire another coach away.

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