Will Wade added an important piece to his roster Sunday afternoon when five-star prospect Efton Reid signed with LSU, choosing the Tigers over Florida State, Pittsburgh and Ohio State.
On a nationwide hunt for a true big man since last fall, Wade had to wait and wait but got one in Reid, a 7-foot, 240-pound center who played his senior season at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.
Reid was expected to make his college choice known on April 21, but inexplicably postponed the decision.
Then, after his mother tweeted he would be committing at noon Friday, decision day came and went as did Saturday.
At one point Friday, someone put up a fake Twitter account that said Reid had committed to Pitt. It had an illustration of him wearing a Panthers uniform.
Reid’s brother quickly debunked the tweet and said no decision had been made. Reid himself (presumably) tweeted a short message that said, “patience, y’all.”
He apparently wanted to wait until Mother’s Day to make his choice and late Sunday afternoon, LSU received his Southeastern Conference and institutional papers.
“Efton will make an immediate impact for us on both ends of the court,” Wade said in a release. “Efton has tremendous touch and footwork around the rim to pair with an expanding perimeter game.
"Defensively, his size and length will give us the rim protection that we need."
Prior to his lone season at IMG, Reid was a three-year star at Steward High School in Richmond, Virginia. Wade has extensive ties there after serving two stints at VCU as an assistant coach and head coach.
Reid is ranked 24th nationally on the 247Sports composite listings. He's rated as the third-best player at his position and No. 3 player in Florida after averaging 16 points and 11 rebounds with IMG this season.
With Reid's commitment, LSU climbed from No. 26 to 13th in the 247Sports recruiting rankings. The Tigers are third in the SEC behind No. 2 Tennessee and No. 7 Alabama.
Reid was a roommate last season of LSU fall signee Brandon Murray, a four-star shooting guard who is ranked No. 88 overall according to 247Sports.
Reid closed his career at Steward High with two monster seasons, drawing interest along the way from Michigan, Louisville, Virginia, Kansas, North Carolina, Rutgers, Georgetown and N.C. State among others.
As a sophomore, he averaged 17.5 points, 10.6 rebounds and 2.5 blocks. He recorded 16 double-doubles and shot 68.7% from the field and 78.9% from the free-throw line.
He averaged 19 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks as a junior, earning Division II first-team all-state honors as Steward went 26-7.
Reid is the third high school player to join Wade's program this season after four-star center Jerrell Colbert and Murray signed during the early signing period in November.
Wade has also signed three transfers since the end of the season — Missouri combo guard Xavier Pinson, Cincinnati power forward Tari Eason and Illinois point guard Adam Miller.
They will join shooting guard Seneca Knight, a Lafayette native who transferred in from San Jose State, and 2021 four-star forward Alex Fudge, who reclassified to the 2020 class, on Wade's restocked roster this fall.
Knight and Fudge enrolled in school in January and practiced the remainder of the season with the Tigers.
The four freshmen and four transfers are expected to fill the void left by the “Big Four” of Cam Thomas, Trendon Watford, Javonte Smart and Darius Days, who all applied for the NBA draft.
Wade said shortly after the season ended with an NCAA tournament second-round loss to Michigan he expected all four players to remain in the draft.
But Days has yet to hire an agent, leaving the door open for a possible return to school.