From the start, Monday was a tough day for Will Wade.
An earlier-than-usual 6 a.m. film session to go over myriad mistakes his LSU basketball team made in a 95-70 loss to No. 11 Auburn on Saturday and refocus for Wednesday's game with 18th-ranked Tennessee in Knoxville was just a start.
By midday, Wade had suspended Wayde Sims and Brandon Rachal one game each for violating team policies and dismissed Mayan Kiir and Galen Alexander for the rest of the season.
All four disciplinary actions were separate cases, Wade said.
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Sims is a sophomore, and the other three are freshmen. All four are reserves, though Sims started eight games earlier this season.
“It was my decision,” Wade said of the suspensions for Sims and Rachal. “It'll just be a one-game suspension for those guys for something you shouldn’t do within a team.
“They made a mistake. They made a mistake young people make. I think they both regret it. I don’t want to put words in their mouth, but they’re good kids. They’re good people."
Of the four, Sims and Rachal, who Wade said will be back for LSU's home game Saturday against Arkansas, have played the most this season.
Sims is averaging 5.7 points and 3.0 rebounds in playing all 20 games this season, while Rachal has averaged 4.3 points and 2.7 rebounds in 19 games. Kiir and Alexander have both played sparingly, averaging 1.9 points each.
In saying Kiir and Alexander would take a leave of absence for LSU’s final 10 games and the Southeastern Conference tournament, Wade noted Kiir could return after the spring semester if he meets certain conditions that have “clearly been laid out for him.”
Wade said Alexander, who took a brief leave in the fall, will look for another place to play next season.
Wade made the announcement during his regular media availability Monday afternoon, 48 hours before the Tigers go against the Volunteers. Wade wouldn’t elaborate on what led to his decisions.
The four subtractions will leave LSU (12-8, 3-5 SEC) with just nine bodies — seven scholarship players and two walk-ons — for the game with Tennessee (15-5, 5-3). The Vols are tied with Kentucky and Alabama for third place in the league standings.
These are the pains that come along with the growing the LSU men’s basketball program is trying to do.
“It’s difficult as a coach,” said the 35-year-old Wade, who’s in his fifth season as a head coach. “You look at yourself as a parent figure and want to help these guys. It’s never fun when you have to have those meetings. It’s not the most exciting part of your job, but it’s part of what you have to do.
“You have to maintain a culture. … You have to maintain a level of discipline within your program,” he said. “They will be fine. It was a mistake anybody could have made in college, and we want to represent our school, our team, better than that.”
Wade said he made the decisions Friday, but it was too late — just more than 24 hours before tipoff at Auburn — to do what he ultimately had to do.
“I just didn’t have time to execute some of the decisions before the game,” he said. “By the time some stuff got to my desk, it was Friday of last week, and I didn’t feel like it was in our best interest to do anything the day before a game.
“I needed some time where I had a little bit of a break to do what needed to be done.”
It's not the first time Sims, Alexander and Kiir have been involved in off-court issues.
This past June, they were issued misdemeanor summons by the LSU Police Department for allegedly shooting paintballs at pedestrians on the campus.
Wade knows his team will be shorthanded and won’t have a lot of length in the post beyond forwards Duop Reath and Aaron Epps against Tennessee. But he said the remaining Tigers will manage.
“We’ll figure that out. … We can play small,” he said. “Teams have to guard you if you play small. That’s on me as a coach to figure that out. We’ll put a plan together and do as best as we can.”