LSU head coach Will Wade spoke publicly with reporters on Tuesday. — the first time since last March when he was suspended amid a cloud of uncertainty surrounding the FBI’s college basketball corruption case.
With LSU in the midst of an SEC regular-season title campaign, Wade was suspended indefinitely by LSU after Yahoo Sports and ESPN reported on leaked wiretapped phone conversations between Wade and convicted former runner Christian Dawkins. During their wiretapped discussion, the duo discuss “the Smart thing” and a “strong-ass offer” — which many interpreted as being about Tigers freshman guard Javonte Smart, a highly-recruited McDonald’s All-American.
Wade missed the LSU postseason run as Tony Benford was interim coach through the Sweet 16. Later reinstated last month, Wade has already landed a five-star prospect in Trendon Watford for next season while Smart and fellow guard Skylar Mays announced their return to school next year after testing the NBA Draft process.
Dancing around direct questions involving the “strong-ass offer” Wade told reporters on Tuesday that he “can’t get into the specifics of everything.” Wade was speaking at the SEC Spring Meetings as he took a podium to answer questions for nearly 16 minutes.
“Eventually, as we move forward from this, I want to get a point where we have full disclosure,” Wade said on Tuesday. “… We’re not at that point right now.”
Wade was also asked various questions about LSU players accepting money from agents or coaches to which he replied, “Everything you can think of was addressed in the meeting with LSU and the NCAA.”
“Obviously this has been a difficult couple of months for LSU and the basketball program,” Wade said. “As the leader, I’m here today to start the process of rebuilding trust.”
While Wade is out to rebuild his personal reputation while maintaining the strong success he’s built with the Tigers, this media sessions is going to leave a lot of people skeptical about what really happened with potential offers to players like Smart and Naz Reid — who was mentioned during the FBI college basketball corruption trial.
Wade doesn’t have to answer these questions truthfully since he’s not in court under the threat of perjury, but his public perception is going to take a long time to repair — if it is ever repaired at all.
Regardless of what Wade says to the media, he has another talented roster that should factor in the SEC title equation this season as he continues to recruit at a high level despite the allegations and suspension.