With the early signing period beginning in just 26 days, the LSU basketball team will have three of the nation’s top 65 prospects on campus this weekend for official visits.
One of the three, Scotlandville point guard Ja’Vonte Smart, was the first verbal commitment for the Class of 2018 for coach Will Wade back on June 30.
Smart, a two-time Louisiana Mr. Basketball pick, will take his official visit along with power forwards Emmitt Williams and Darius Days, who are both from Florida.
Williams, a 6-foot-8, 200-pound five-star prospect from Oak Ridge High in Orlando, is 21st in the nation in the latest 247Sports composite rankings. He’s ranked as the nation's No. 5 power forward and fourth-best overall prospect in Florida.
Oak Ridge is the same school that produced former LSU guard Antonio Blakeney.
The list of schools Williams is considering includes LSU, Duke, Kansas, Florida, Oregon, USC and Miami. He visited Oregon two weeks ago.
Days is a 6-7, 218-pound four-star from The Rock School in Gainesville. Ranked ninth in Florida by 247Sports, he is 65th overall in the nation and 17th among power forwards.
In addition to LSU, Days is considering North Carolina, Ohio State and Xavier. He visited North Carolina last weekend and Ohio State last month.
In addition to Smart, who is 29th in the 247Sports composite rankings, Wade has received a commitment from Nazreon Reid, a New Jersey native who is ranked 17th overall as the No. 4 power forward in the nation — one spot ahead of Williams.
Open practice Saturday
LSU fans will get their first opportunity to watch Wade’s team in an open practice Saturday before the Tigers’ football game with Auburn.
The practice session will run from noon to 12:45 p.m. in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center as part of the Tiger Athletic Foundation Tailgate Party. Wade will address fans before putting his team through various drills.
While the practice is part of the TAF Tailgate Party, any fan can enter the PMAC by showing the graphic about the practice on the @LSUBasketball Twitter account or on Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/LSUBasketball.
The graphic can be printed out or displayed on a mobile device for admittance using the Southwest Ramp (closest to Mike the Tiger’s habitat) or the Northwest Stairs (on the Bernie Moore Track side of the arena).
Wade said earlier in the week that forwards Galen Alexander and Jeremy Combs continue to improve as they work their way back from surgeries.
Wade said Alexander, a freshman from Breaux Bridge, is "90 to 95 percent" recovered from knee surgery in December. Wade noted Alexander passed “boot camp,” which allowed him to join his teammates in preseason practice.
Combs, a graduate transfer from North Texas, has been running on a treadmill after having surgery Sept. 18 to stabilize an ankle he injured last season.
Wade said the goal was to have Combs running on the court by the end of this week.
The LSU basketball team will be presented with a custom-made, hand-crafted surfboard Saturday during a timeout in the second quarter of the football game with Auburn.
The presentation will signify LSU’s participation in the 2017 Maui Invitational, an eight-team tournament to be played Nov. 20-22 in Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii.
LSU, which also played in the tournament in 1992, 1996 and 2007, will face Michigan in its first game at 10:30 p.m. CST on Nov. 20 on ESPNU.
No FBI talk
Wade said he hasn’t talked to his team about the FBI investigation and scandal that rocked the college basketball world late last month.
“It doesn’t affect us. … It doesn’t affect them,” he said. “It’s just outside noise. We don’t talk about that. We’ll talk about social issues, but nothing like that.”