John Treloar

Former LSU basketball coach John Brady has known his former assistant, John Treloar, as a fierce competitor since their days playing at Belhaven University.

Current LSU coach Johnny Jones must have seen the same thing.

Treloar, current director of player personnel for the Phoenix Suns, will return to LSU to fill the associate coaching vacancy, the LSU basketball program announced Wednesday.

Treloar, who is in his fifth year with the Suns, will replace Eric Musselman on Jones’ staff, effective July 1. Musselman was hired as the new head coach of the University of Nevada on March 25 after one season with the Tigers.

Treloar is an experienced assistant coach in the collegiate ranks. He aided Indiana University to a 2002 National Runner-Up finish before Brady hired him to work in the same capacity with the Tigers in 2004. In his four years with LSU, it reached the NCAA Tournament in 2005 and 2006 — including another Final Four appearance — before Brady was fired in the middle of the 2008 season.

“I’m looking forward to rejoining the LSU basketball family and working with Coach Jones and his staff in helping these young men who wear the purple and gold be the best they can be,” Treloar said in a news release. “My goal is to serve and assist Coach Jones any way that I can in whatever areas he feels I can help. I will do all I can to help him achieve and sustain excellence.”

After beginning his career as a graduate assistant at Alabama in 1980, Treloar had head coaching stints with professional teams in Germany before moving on to the Continental Basketball Association, where he coached three teams in eight seasons. This included a championship with the Wichita Texans in his first year in the CBA.

While he hadn’t talked to Jones about the hiring, Brady, currently the head coach at Arkansas State, spoke highly of the job Jones has done at LSU and the “courageous” decision to bring Treloar back to Baton Rouge.

“One mark of a good head coach is to hire good assistants,” Brady said. “I was fortunate enough at LSU to hire some outstanding assistant coaches that have gone on to do really well, John Treloar being one of those.”

Brady remembered Treloar, who also coached two years in the NBA Developmental League, as a tenacious defender, as a player and as a supervisor of various aspects of the program as an assistant.

“He oversaw a lot of things — scouting, gameplans, breaking down of tape, working out players,” Brady said. “He had a big input offensively in what we did. He and I were on the same page defensively, something I really like coaching. His influence of offensive was important on our team. We did a lot of pro things, where we involved [former LSU forwards] Brandon Bass or Glenn Davis in some pro set that he brought to the table with his experience in the CBA — now even more since he’s been with Pheonix to help Johnny.”

Brady said Treloar contacted him last year about returning to the bench in college but wanted to be in a situation where the team could contend immediately. With incoming five-star prospects Ben Simmons and Antonio Blakeney joining a team a year removed from the NCAA Tournament, Brady acknowledged this is the right fit for his good friend.

Like Musselman, Brady said Treloar’s NBA experience will only booster Jones and assistant head coach David Patrick’s strong recruiting record.

“All of that helps entice a young man,” Brady said. “John Treloar can talk to him about the NBA, his experiences in the NBA and what a young player may anticipate in the draft and where he fits. John has contacts. He can pick up the phone and help a young man get himself evaluated.”

Brady also said Treloar, 58, would probably coach another “four or five more years” but would most likely stay at LSU in that time.

“Shoot, that will bring me to Baton Rouge more often,” Brady said. “Coach Treloar will be there July 1. He and I will probably be in Ruth’s Chris two weeks after that, having a steak and maybe even sharing a bottle of wine together.”

You can reach James Bewers on Twitter @JamesBewers_TDR.

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