The LSU men's basketball team now has five early entrants for the NBA draft after announcements Thursday from two more members of Will Wade's fourth-ranked 2018 recruiting class.
Former Scotlandville High star guard Javonte Smart, who was thrust into the national spotlight because of Wade's wiretap controversy, and forward Emmitt Williams were the latest to make their intentions known.
They join freshman forward Naz Reid, sophomore guard Tremont Waters and junior guard Skylar Mays — who, in a three-day span late last week, announced they would enter the draft.
In making their announcements on their Instagram accounts, neither Smart nor Williams, who helped LSU to a 28-7 record and a spot in the NCAA tournament's Sweet 16, indicated whether they'll sign with an agent.
A new NCAA rule allows them to return for their sophomore seasons if they hire an NCAA-certified agent and sever ties with the agent before the May 29 deadline to withdraw from the draft.
Their decisions came two days after interim coach Tony Benford said Smart and Williams had put in requests to the NBA undergraduate advisory committee for an evaluation of their pro prospects.
While three LSU basketball players have already applied for early entry into the NBA draft, two others are waiting to hear back from the leagu…
Freshman forward Darius Days and junior guard Marlon Taylor are the only underclassmen from the eight-man rotation LSU used this season to not declare for the draft.
Days told The Advocate last Saturday he won't put his name in, while Taylor's plans are unclear. Neither player asked for an evaluation from the advisory committee, Benford said.
Reid and Waters said they will sign with an agent, but Mays did not indicate whether he would follow that path.
"Becoming a tiger was the best decision I have made in my life so far. Being with my brothers and LSU family has been a wonderful experience that I could never forget," Smart wrote in his post.
Smart continued: "This has been something I have waited for all my life. I would like to thank God and everyone who has supported me throughout my journey. In my heart, I will always be a tiger."
Said Williams: "I am thankful for the opportunity I had at LSU to play collegiate basketball. Being at LSU has allowed me to grow and develop on and off the court. I am forever grateful for the experience and the memories I have created with my brothers."
Williams, a native of Fort Myers, Florida, averaged 7.0 points and 5.4 rebounds a game.
He had a career-high 15 points twice and pulled down a career-high 14 rebounds in a 79-78 win at Florida in front of nearly two dozen family members.
Smart's freshman season ended with a scoreless outing against Michigan State in the Sweet 16 on March 29, but he had his share of highlights.
The Baton Rouge native's biggest game came in LSU's 82-80 victory over Tennessee on Feb. 23.
With Waters sidelined by illness, Smart took over the main point-guard duties and scored a career-high 29 points as the Tigers won an overtime thriller.
But his on-court achievements were overshadowed by his name's appearance in transcripts of wiretapped phone calls that appeared to discuss payments.
In one wiretapped call, the contents of which Yahoo Sports and ESPN reported on March 7, Wade spoke in June 2017 about “this Smart thing” — presumably a reference to Smart, a four-star prospect at the time.
Wade indicated he'd made a "strong-ass offer" for Smart to a middleman, later identified as Shannon Forman by Yahoo.
The specifics of the offer weren’t detailed in the report.
Smart was held out by school officials when LSU clinched the Southeastern Conference regular-season title with a win over Vanderbilt on March 9, but he returned for the SEC and NCAA tournaments.
The report resulted in the suspension of Wade for the team's final five games.
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Smart, who had 18 starts in 34 games, averaged 11.4 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.4 assists a game.
But he shot just 36.8 percent from the field — including 31.1 percent from 3-point range. He hit 83.9 percent of his free throws.
Neither the NCAA nor LSU has indicated any issue with Smart’s future eligibility in regard to Wade’s situation or his connection to Forman.
After LSU's season-ending loss to Michigan State, Smart wouldn't say if he was leaning to returning for his sophomore season or testing the draft waters.
“I am just going to take my time. … Whatever happens, happens,” he said.
The middleman in a recruiting scandal involving head coach Will Wade and the LSU basketball program has been identified as Shannon Forman, acc…