Will Wade

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LSU coach Will Wade avoids tough questions in first time talking to media since March

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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.

(H/t: Pat Forde, Yahoo SportsThe Advocate)

Report: Will Wade, LSU finally scheduled to meet

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LSU and suspended head coach Will Wade are finally scheduled to meet to discuss Wade’s status with the school.

According to a report from Ross Dellenger of Sports Illustrated, Wade and the school will meet on Friday as a potential reinstatement will be a topic of discussion.

Suspended since March 8, Wade missed LSU’s regular-season finale and postseason run to the Sweet 16 as assistant coach Tony Benford took over the team. LSU made the move to suspend Wade after his alleged involvement with runner and convicted felon Christian Dawkins as the two are allegedly caught on a wiretapped conversation discussing a potential offer to a recruit believed to be Tigers freshman guard Javonte Smart.

Wade’s swift suspension was met with some criticism within the LSU fanbase as the Tigers were in the midst of a special season that included an SEC regular-season title and run into the NCAA tournament’s second weekend. After a stalemate the past month, the two sides meeting represents progress during a tense situation in which there has been little movement over the past few weeks.

It’s hard to say what this meeting will entail, as just last Friday, federal prosecutors filed a motion asking a judge to prevent Wade from testifying in one of the upcoming bribery trials in the FBI’s investigation.

Report: FBI agents visited with LSU coach Will Wade

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The ongoing saga involving LSU head coach Will Wade took another turn this week as FBI agents were reportedly in Baton Rouge to investigate the suspended coach’s recruiting tactics.

According to a report from Yahoo’s Dan Wetzel, Pat Forde and Pete Thamel the FBI agents made it a point to conduct in-person work regarding Wade after his March 8th suspension. Yahoo also reports that the FBI’s increased attention into Wade’s recruiting tactics “could signal an expansion in the federal basketball corruption case.”

Wade has been suspended indefinitely by LSU after he was reportedly captured on wiretaps with convicted felon and runner Christian Dawkins. Already facing a subpoena, Wade’s been suspended by LSU for his refusal to meet with the school regarding the wiretapped conversations.

Without Wade on the bench, LSU still advanced to the Sweet 16 this season after winning the SEC regular-season title.

LSU’s Will Wade denies working with Christian Dawkins to secure 2019 recruit

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LSU head coach Will Wade took his time at SEC media day on Wednesday to declare his innocence after being linked to Christian Dawkins during the ongoing federal trial on corruption in college basketball in New York.

Wade’s name was brought up in court on Tuesday as lawyers for Adidas executive Jim Gatto tried to admit evidence that showed the LSU coach was prepared to offer benefits to land top-50 2019 big man Balsa Koprivica. The catch was that Dawkins had to get him to sign with the Tigers.

Attorney Casey Donnelly, representing Gatto, tried to introduce a wiretapped phone call between Wade and Dawkins. No date was provided from Donnelly, but court records show the FBI monitored one of Dawkins’ cellphones from June 19, 2007 through Sept. 15, 2017.

Donnelly read from a transcript that showed that Wade and Dawkins spoke about Koprivica. The context of the conversation is limited, however, and it has some gray area.

“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,” Dawkins told Wade on the call — according to Donnelly’s transcript. “Would you want Balsa?”

“Oh, the big kid?” Wade asked.

“Yeah,” Dawkins said.

“OK. But there’s other [expletive] involved in it,” Wade replied. “I have got to shut my door. … Here’s my thing: I can get you what you need, but it’s got to work.”

At SEC media day on Wednesday, Wade downplayed the comments, while only sticking to a prepared statement. After reading the statement, Wade refused to answer additional questions, while referring to the statement, when reporters tried to ask follow-up questions.

“It was a little bit surprising,” Wade said about the testimony at SEC media day. “I’m not really gonna react to what the defense attorney said. I will say I’m very proud of everything I’ve done as LSU’s head coach. … I or we have never, ever done business of any kind with Christian Dawkins. That’s what I’ll say about that.”

Wade and LSU are expected to have a promising 2018-19 season as sophomore point guard Tremont Waters is considered an All-American candidate. The team is also trying to overcome the loss of Wayde Sims, who was tragically killed when he was shot and killed in late September.

So to have Wade’s name mentioned in this trial is another subplot that the Tigers have to go through as the season approaches.

(h/t: Myron Medcalf, ESPN)

VCU lands transfer small forward Isaac Vann

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Thursday evening VCU head coach Will Wade landed a commitment from one of the top transfers on the board, as former Maine small forward Isaac Vann made his pledge to the Atlantic 10 program. Vann, who was one of the top freshmen in America East last season, will have three years of eligibility remaining after he sits out the 2016-17 campaign.

News of Vann’s commitment was first reported by MadeHoops.com.

The 6-foot-6 Vann had a very productive freshman season at Maine, as he averaged 16.4 points and 5.8 rebounds per contest for the Black Bears. Vann, who also averaged 1.7 assists and 1.6 rebounds in 28.3 minutes per game, shot 45.7 percent from the field and 41.2 percent from beyond the arc. He was one of two unanimous All-Rookie Team selections, with Albany’s Joe Cremo (America East Rookie of the Year) being the other.

With a season to get acclimated to Wade’s system, Vann can be a quality addition for the Rams moving forward.

Amongst its wing options entering the 2016-17 season VCU has just one senior, with that player being Jordan Burgess. The Rams will also add freshmen De’Riante Jenkins and Marquell Fraser this summer, giving them the depth they need moving forward. Vann’s decision to transfer to VCU came less than a week after he took his visit.

VIDEO: VCU stays atop A-10 standings with win at George Washington

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Saturday’s matchup between VCU and George Washington was important for multiple reasons. First there’s the fact that both teams entered the game a position where every win is critical as they look to get into the NCAA tournament. Add in the fact that the visiting Rams are still part of the race to win the Atlantic 10 regular season title, and there was a lot on the line at the Smith Center in Washington, D.C.

Will Wade’s Rams managed to hold off George Washington 69-65, moving to 21-8 overall and 13-3 in A-10 play as a result. The win moves VCU into first place in the Atlantic 10, with Saint Joseph’s (12-3) tied in the loss column. Jonathan Williams led four Rams in double figures with 17 points while also dishing out five assists, and VCU outscored the Colonials 42-30 in the paint.

VCU avenged a home loss to George Washington earlier this month, winning in spite of the fact that the Colonials scored 20 points off of Ram turnovers and 17 second-chance points. Tyler Cavanaugh led George Washington (21-8, 10-6) with a game-high 19 points.