New LSU men’s basketball coach Will Wade was asked Wednesday if he’s ever been told he has some traits in common with old LSU football coach Nick Saban.
“No,” was Wade’s short and Saban-like reply.
Like Saban, he certainly doesn’t mind sending a message to his players through the media.
Wade said he considers three of the starting spots nailed down for Friday’s season and home opener against Alcorn State (7 p.m., SEC Network+): freshman Tremont Waters and sophomore Skylar Mays in the backcourt, senior Duop Reath at center.
As for the forward spots, those are still open much to Wade’s chagrin.
“I thought we had the 4 settled,” Wade said, referring to sophomore Wayde Sims. “I love old Sims, but when he gets comfortable it just gets bad.”
The coach said he’d like to consider installing senior Aaron Epps in that spot, but he’s not completely recovered from an ankle injury that kept him out of the Tigers’ exhibition game with Tulane and their scrimmage against Texas.
Epps is out of a walking boot but is questionable for Friday.
“We are hoping to get Epps back as quickly as we can,” Wade said. If not the Alcorn game, Wade hopes Epps can play next Thursday against Samford or in the Maui Invitational, Nov. 20-22.
Wade said North Texas transfer Jeremy Combs and freshman Brandon Rachal from Natchitoches are also options to start.
Wade said Combs, who has been sidelined by ankle surgery, impressed him with his thorough knowledge of the Tigers’ offense.
“I asked him before the scrimmage on Saturday what plays he knew,” Wade said. “He said he knew them all. I said, ‘Hook one out spread. Show me that one.’ He did and I thought, ‘Oh my goodness, that was pretty good.’ He said, ‘Coach I’ve been sitting out the whole time learning plays so when I came back, you wouldn’t have an excuse not to play me.’ ”
Wade wants to have his lineup set Thursday.
"I have to start sequencing all the plays with the different lineups," Wade said.
Hey, look me over
Wade hopes fans arriving early for Saturday’s 11 a.m. LSU-Arkansas football game will come see the basketball Tigers. Tickets are available for $1.
“We would love for everybody driving in from around the state, who is coming in early for the game and would typically come on game day, to come check us out,” Wade said. “You can get a ticket for basically nothing.”