The LSU basketball team paid tribute to fallen teammate Wayde Sims on Tuesday night when the Tigers opened their season against Southeastern Louisiana in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
Sims, a sophomore forward who was shot and killed just 12 hours before preseason practice was to begin on Sept. 28, was honored before, during and after No. 23-ranked LSU’s 94-63 win over SLU.
A photo of Sims, whose locker was untouched after his death and is encased in plastic, was on the game tickets and on the cover of the game program that was handed out to fans.
His teammates also wore a patch on their right uniform shoulder as they will throughout the season. Coach Will Wade and his assistants and other support staff wore a black quarter-sized pin with Sims’ jersey No.44 in the middle of it.
It’s the same number Sims’ father, Wayne, wore when playing for legendary LSU coach Dale Brown in the late 1980s.
The evening was capped shortly after the game ended with a moving tribute to Sims and members of his family. Sims’ parents, Wayne and Fay, were presented with a flag and the game ball from Tuesday’s contest by LSU coach Will Wade.
Wade addressed the crowd before the playing of a five-minute video of Sims’ career with the Tigers and University High, where he was named the 2015 Louisiana Gatorade Player of the Year. Sims helped the Cubs to three state championships.
“The LSU family is real,” Wade said. “The support our program has gotten has been absolutely unmatched. The Sims I know feel the say way. We can’t say thank you enough for all of your support as we continue to work through this tragic accident.”