LSU bowed out of the SEC tournament in disappointing fashion last Saturday, getting blown out by Texas A&M 71-38 in the semifinal round. On Tuesday, coach Johnny Jones was left to answer about his team’s discouraging finish to the season.
“I was embarrassed by the way that Texas A&M game played out,” Jones said, according to The Advocate’s Sheldon Mickles.
LSU (19-14) chose not participate in the NIT after being left out of the NCAA Tournament field Sunday. Jones indicated it was a team decision not to compete. He also downplayed the speculation about Ben Simmons’ expected departure for the NBA influencing the decision.
“I always want to play, but [we] have to do right thing for athletes,” Jones said, according to The Advocate’s Scott Rabalais. “We’re excited for the time we had with [Simmons]. Lot of distractions, but none of that had to do whether we won or lost games.”
Jones did not confirm whether Simmons would declare for the NBA draft, but it seems like a foregone conclusion. Simmons, who spent most of the season projected as the No. 1 pick, is expected to join the LeBron James-backed Klutch Sports agency, according to The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Jones’ future with the Tigers has also come into question after LSU fell well short of preseason expectations, but he is already looking ahead to next season.
“Going forward to next season [we] have to focus improvement on defense and getting better on that end of the floor,” Jones told reporters. “I have young men to focus on. I don’t worry about people judging me.”