A lot has been going on at LSU over the last month and none of it has been good for the Tigers. Hours after the first practice of the season, junior Wayde Sims was shot and killed in Baton Rouge, which was a horrible and senseless tragedy.
“We’re without one of our veterans, Wayde Sims,” head coach Will Wade said. “He passed away on the 28th and it’s something that our team is still working on and moving forward and trying to get better as we take it day-by-day. We’re going to miss him. He was our ultimate glue guy, which is about as good as compliment as you can give as a head coach. He was dependable, he was consistent, he never missed anything. We’re going to do our best this year to honor him and to play how he would want us to play and play well for Wayde. He was a veteran and we’re certainly going to miss. He was one of the guys that really helped our newcomers understand how things work, weight room, help things on the court.”
Nothing is as serious as the loss of a player, but there was more bad news for LSU and specifically Wade. The timing wasn’t ideal. In audio evidence that was barred from the court room, Wade was caught on wiretap attempting to secure high-profile recruits by offering impermissible benefits. This happened earlier this week just before he was set to speak to a plethora of media at SEC Media Day in Birmingham.
Basically, he was caught attempting to cheat, and while we didn’t get to hear the audio the transcript was read:
“So you said to me in Atlanta there was a 2019 kid I wanted to recruit, they can get him to LSU, you would have funded,” Christian Dawkins told Wade, according to adidas’ attorney. “Would you want Balsa?”
“Oh, the big kid?” Wade said
“Yeah,” Dawkins said.
“OK. But there’s other (expletive) involved in it,” Wade said. “I have got to shut my door … Here’s my thing: I can get you what you need, but it’s got to work.”
Wade became defensive when asked about it on Wednesday.
“It was a little bit surprising,” Wade said. “I’m not really going to react to what the defense attorney said. I certainly get it. I know the judge didn’t let it in. I will say, I’m very proud of everything I’ve done as LSU’s head coach. I’m very proud of what we’ve done at LSU and I, or we, have never, ever done business of any kind with Christian Dawkins. That’s what I’ll say about that and we’ll certainly move forward from there and I’ll take any questions that relate to our team or our season.”
A reporter then read back the transcript to Wade and wanted a yes or no on if he said that to Dawkins, and asked what Wade meant by “I can get you what you need, but it’s got to work”.
Wade wasn’t wanting to respond.
“I addressed that in the statement and we’ll move forward and try to talk about the team. I addressed that in the statement.”
The reporter followed up- “That’s not a yes or no. You’re not going to say yes or no?”
“I addressed that in my statement and we’ll move forward and talk about our team,” Wade said.
Things were a little testy, but it’s likely just the beginning for Wade. I could see a scenario where Wade could play the “I was just chatting with him, blowing smoke, just trying to keep things moving in the right direction” while saying he had no intent to pay players. I’m not sure if that would or wouldn’t work for the NCAA. There would likely need to be evidence of payments made, but it’s never a good look being caught on tape trying to ink a deal with Dawkins.
We’ll see how it plays out for LSU, who was picked to finish sixth in the SEC and added several high level 2018 recruits.