- Gary Laney, Reporter, GeauxTigerNation
There's no secret that folks tied to the Dale Brown era at LSU are loyal to their own.
So it makes sense that one of the more prominent names associated with that period would endorse another Brown-coached Tiger for the now-vacant LSU position.
"Johnny Jones is the man," said Collis Temple, Jr., the first African-American player in LSU history who played for for both Brown and Press Maravich in the early 70s. Two of Temple's sons, Collis Temple III and Garrett Temple, also played at LSU. Garrett played his senior season for Trent Johnson, who left LSU Saturday to take the TCU job.
Jones has been the head coach at North Texas for 11 seasons, where he has compiled a 190-46 record with two NCAA tournament appearances. Jones played on LSU's 1981 Final Four team before serving as an assistant under longtime coach Dale Brown. Temple said those local connections could come in handy if Jones got the job.
"There's about to be some players come out of Baton Rouge and we need somebody who will get them to LSU," Temple said.
Temple knows a bit about player development in greater Baton Rouge. He coached several top Baton Rouge players in AAU ball while his kids were growing up. Many of those players formed the foundation of two of LSU's better teams in the 2000s.
The 2006 Final Four team featured four Baton Rouge-area players in the starting lineup, including future NBA players Glen "Big Baby" Davis and Tyrus Thomas. The 2009 SEC championship team, the best team of the Johnson era, also had four Baton Rouge metro products in the starting lineup, including eventual NBA player Marcus Thornton. Chris Johnson (who is not from Louisiana) and Garrett Temple have also spent time on NBA rosters. Both were on both the 2006 and 2009 team.
The elder Temple said Louisiana is about to have a similar class of prospects in 2013.
"We've got four players 6-8 or taller who are high-major college players in Baton Rouge," Temple said. "I believe two of them are NBA players. And in the eighth grade, we have six who are high major players. We need somebody who will get them to LSU."
The 2013 class is led by Jarrell Martin of Baton Rouge's Madison Academy, the No. 20 player in the ESPN Super 60.
Temple said the eighth grade class could be better than the one that produced Davis and Thomas.
Temple said he didn't think Johnson was the kind of personality to shepherd in the local recruits. He said there was not enough outreach between the coach at the basketball community, particularly people with long histories with the program.
"He was a good coach," he said. "But he wasn't the right fit. I think TCU may be a better fit for him."
5dGreg Ostendorf and Alex Scarborough