LISTEN IN: Rudy Macklin
LSU legend, former ‘Bullet’ teammate talks Johnny Jones hire
By BEN LOVE
Tiger Rag Editor
There has been no shortage of public opinion in Louisiana on Johnny Jones being named the new LSU basketball coach.
Even before Jones’ hire was made official by the university Friday late afternoon, fans voiced their thoughts over airwaves and message boards on ‘The Bullet’ coming back from North Texas. So, too, did a litany of former Tiger players and coaches.
LSU legend Rudy Macklin was one of those former players who spoke up on Jones’ behalf, saying the one-time Bayou Bengal point guard and longtime Tiger assistant would be the right man to replace outgoing coach Trent Johnson.
Now that Jones is on board in Baton Rouge, Macklin unsurprisingly still feels the same way.
Jeff Palermo and I had the pleasure of interviewing Macklin on Tiger Rag Radio Tuesday night. Below are some of the best quotes from Macklin as well as an audio link to the full interview.
Macklin on what makes Jones the right hire …
“It’s a win-win situation, of course, with his recruiting ability and then as a coach. He coached at a small enviroment at North Texas and turned it into a winner. If you can turn programs with small venues, not very good facilities and a small recruiting budget into a winner, just think what he can do when he gets better resources. And I think that he can really bring a lot back to this basketball program.”
Macklin with a great point about LSU being back to the 1976 drawing board …
“Timing is pretty much everything. Back then, I came in 1976. You’re going to have to find somebody to basically do what I did, and that’s take a chance on LSU. LSU when I came was at the bottom of the SEC by all media outlets, and the coach was in trouble. It was a football school traditionally, and it still is … Being called a blue-chipper back then, I passed on great basketball powers like Louisville and Kentucky. I was recruited by UCLA, Maryland, Georgia Tech, Tennessee, all the basketball powers because I was the last of the blue-chippers to sign. It was like foolish, in a lot of people’s eyes, for me to choose LSU. So I took a chance on LSU and had second thoughts until that first game against Tulane, where I pulled 32 rebounds. That kinda lit the match, and the rest of the supporting cast I had fit well for me.
“Coach Brown, he told me, ‘If you went to those big-name schools, they would do well whether you went or not. But if you come to LSU, you can say you built something.’ And that’s what I wanted to do. So, he [Johnny Jones] is going to have to find somebody out there, and sometimes it just takes one guy, who says I want to build something. That one guy is out there that can come in and make an immediate impact and light a match to get it going. What that does is, when you get it going like me and my boys did back then, open the door for better recruits. It opened the door for you to get a John Williams back then. It opened the door to get Chris Jackson, Shaquille O’Neal. And the tradition keeps going on and on.
“So now we’re back to where it was in ‘76. Now you’re going to have find somebody and say, ’Okay, here is a team that’s middle of the pack in the SEC, it’s traditionally a football school and it’s also a baseball school.’ Somebody’s going to have to come it and say, ‘The heck with that. I want to build something. I want to revitalize that spirit that LSU had back in the glory days.’ That person is out there, and I believe Johnny Jones is the person to convince somebody, and he may be in tenth grade or the ninth grade, to come to LSU and build something.”
CLICK HERE to listen to Tiger Rag Radio’s interview with Rudy Macklin in its entirety.
Editor Ben Love is Tiger Rag’s lead reporter on LSU men’s basketball. Reach him at email@example.com.