As expected, the LSU basketball program picked up a fourth recruit for its 2018 class Wednesday when it received a letter of intent from five-star power forward Emmitt Williams on the first day of the spring signing period.
Williams joins three other highly rated prospects from the early signing period in November — five-star power forward Nazreon Reid and two four-stars, combo guard Ja’Vonte Smart and power forward Darius Days — to form the nation’s fifth-ranked class, according to 247Sports.
Williams was LSU's only signee Wednesday, but he won’t be the last of the signing period for Will Wade and his coaching staff.
Now that guard Brandon Sampson has hired an agent and will likely apply for the NBA draft, LSU still has three of its 13 NCAA-allowed scholarships available.
That gives Wade — who previously said he wanted to sign a junior-college player and a transfer or two for the upcoming season — some options.
With an opportunity to add three more players, he could pick up a junior-college product, a graduate transfer who would be eligible immediately and possibly a “sit-out” transfer who would be eligible for 2019-20.
Wednesday will be the culmination of a long, hard year of recruiting for the LSU men’s basketball coaching staff.
The signing of the 6-foot-7, 215-pound Williams, who prepped at Oak Ridge High School in Orlando, Florida, came three days after he poured in 44 points to earn MVP honors in the Jordan Brand Classic in Brooklyn.
Ranked 24th nationally by 247Sports, Williams took an official visit to LSU in October and picked Wade’s program over Florida and Oregon in late January.
Shortly after returning to Florida from his LSU visit, Williams was charged with sexual assault and false imprisonment.
He pled not guilty and the charges were dropped in December following an investigation by Orlando police.
The rugged Williams is expected to team up with the 6-10 Reid on LSU’s front line, giving the Tigers some much-needed muscle under the basket after they ranked 287th out of 351 D-I teams last season with 33.3 rebounds per game.
Reid, a McDonald’s All-American from Roselle Catholic in New Jersey, is ranked 18th nationally by 247Sports and is the No. 5 power forward — three spots ahead of Williams.
In discussing his scheduling philosophy in the past year, LSU basketball coach Will Wade said his preference is to play one game each season a…
They faced each other in the prestigious Hoophall Classic in January, and Williams, who said he’s played against Reid since seventh grade, scored 18 points and had 11 rebounds in Oak Ridge’s 80-69 victory.
Smart, a three-time Class 5A most outstanding player and three-time Louisiana Gatorade player of the year, led Scotlandville High School to its third state title in four seasons last month.
The 6-4 Smart, rated 30th overall in the Class of 2018 and fifth-ranked combo guard, should fit in at point guard and shooting guard for Wade, who likes to use two point guards.
Days, a 6-7 native of Williston, Florida, who completed his prep career at IMG Academy, is ranked 54th overall nationally and 14th among power forwards.
Reid, Williams and Days give LSU three of the top 14 players in the nation at the power forward position.