Not only will LSU be without head coach Will Wade Saturday night against Vanderbilt, it will hold out guard Javonte Smart as well.
Yahoo Sports first reported Thursday that Wade, LSU’s second-year coach, is heard on an FBI wiretap discussing a “strong-ass offer” he made in the recruitment of a prospect, believed to be Smart. As a result, the school will sit Smart for the Vanderbilt game, it announced Saturday afternoon.
“I was thinking last night on this Smart thing,” Wade said on the call. “I’ll be honest with you, I’m [expletive] tired of dealing with the thing. Like I’m just [expletive] sick of dealing with the [expletive]. Like, this should not be that [expletive] complicated.”
In the conversation, Wade voices frustration that a third party affiliated with the recruitment had not accepted the “offer.” Wade believed the third party hadn’t been given a big enough “piece of the pie in the deal,” which “tilted” more toward the player and his mother.
LSU explained its decision not to play Smart with the following statement:
“Javonte Smart will be held from today’s game against Vanderbilt. This is done only in an abundance of caution and as a result of the lack of clarity provided regarding media reports and reported wiretaps involving Head Coach Will Wade. This decision does not suggest, in any way, wrongdoing or knowledge of wrongdoing on Javonte’s part or his family. Javonte and his family have been fully cooperative and open with university officials. The decision to hold Javonte from today’s game is a difficult and disappointing one for everyone involved. Javonte is a valuable member of the team, the university and the LSU family. The university and NCAA continue to review the matter in order to come to a resolution as quickly as possible.”
Will Wade has been indefinitely suspended
Wade’s conversation with basketball middleman Christian Dawkins, an aspiring agent who was sentenced to six months in prison earlier this week, took place in 2017. ESPN previously reported that Dawkins had “at least three calls with a cell phone number” that belonged to Wade. The calls occurred between June 19, 2017 and June 30, 2017. Smart announced his verbal commitment to LSU on June 30, 2017.
On Friday, LSU announced an indefinite suspension for Wade.
“All of us at LSU share the obligation to protect the integrity of this institution, as such we have suspended Head Coach Will Wade indefinitely until such time as we can ensure full compliance with the NCAA, as well as institutional policies and standards,” a university statement attributed to LSU president F. King Alexander and athletic director Joe Alleva said.
The second trial related to corruption in college basketball is set for April. Wade and Arizona head coach Sean Miller have been informed that they will receive subpoenas to testify.
Smart was a top-50 recruit out of Baton Rouge who ultimately signed with Wade and LSU. He is averaging 11.4 points per game for the Tigers and has scored in double-figures in five of LSU’s last six games, including a 29-point outburst in an overtime win over Tennessee, the other top team in the SEC.
LSU is currently 25-5 entering Saturday night’s home game against last-place Vanderbilt. An SEC regular season title is on the line for LSU, a feat it hasn’t accomplished since 2009.
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