LSU basketball coach Will Wade has made a statement for the first time since news broke of his suspension Friday.

In it, Wade tells his players he will be with them in spirit as they close out the regular season and prepare for the SEC and NCAA tournaments. 

He also says reports saying he was heard on FBI wiretap discussing possible payment for a recruit "do not begin to tell the full story." 

You can read his statement sent via text message to The Advocate below:

"Serving as the Head Basketball Coach at LSU has been the honor of my life. I love this university and all it stands for. From day one, I’ve been focused on building a winning program made up of excellent coaches and staff and a team of first-rate student athletes.

"I cannot comment at this time on various media reports, except to say that they do not begin to tell the full story. I understand the University had to take action before all the facts are in, but I would ask everyone to withhold their judgment until the record is complete.

"To my players and coaches, I support you 100%, and I will be with you in spirit as the season progresses. Your best response to this is to narrow your focus and make sure the last part of the season is the strongest part!"

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Wade, in his second season with LSU, has led the Tigers to the cusp of an SEC regular-season title. A win over Vanderbilt on Saturday ensures them at least a share of the title for the first time since 2009.

The school named assistant Tony Benford the interim coach.

Follow Sheldon Mickles on Twitter, @MicklesAdvocate.