During the 37-day suspension of Will Wade, it was business as usual for the LSU men’s basketball coaching staff — both on and off the court.
While the Tigers wrapped up the season with an appearance in the NCAA tournament and a trip to the Sweet 16 without Wade, his assistant coaches continued working on the 2019 recruiting class.
Beginning Wednesday, they’ll see who they can get to join the two players they added in the early signing period last November.
Yet, it could be an uneventful first day.
While Wade and his staff don’t know exactly how many scholarships they’ll have available since five players from this year’s team declared for the NBA draft, they’re still going to be aggressive in trying to fill out the roster for next season.
If forward Naz Reid and guard Tremont Waters stay in the draft, as expected, and guards Skylar Mays and Javonte Smart and forward Emmitt Williams return to school after testing the waters, LSU would still have room for four more newcomers.
After the November signings of James Bishop, a combo guard from Mount Saint Joseph in Baltimore, and Charles Manning, a junior-college shooting guard from Florida SouthWestern State College, LSU is believed to be in the mix for at least three key prospects.
Now that the college basketball season has been completed, coaches around the country began focusing Tuesday on the next big date on the NCAA …
They are five-star small forward Trendon Watford of Mountain Brook, Alabama; four-star shooting guard Lester Quinones of IMG Academy in Florida; and 6-foot-10 forward Khadim Sy, who played this past season at Daytona State College in Florida.
“We would like to get a couple of bigs, and maybe another wing,” LSU assistant coach Tony Benford said last week. “So we’re kind of looking at those areas, especially inside where we want to shore up the front line.”
Getting some size down low is vital because 6-11 forward Kavell Bigby-Williams was a senior this season and the 6-10 Reid, whom the staff saw as a one-and-done player when they recruited him, is a projected first-round draft pick.
Getting Watford, a 6-9 forward, and the 6-10, 245-pound Sy would fill holes there.
Without Reid, the tallest player currently on the roster is 6-8 forward Courtese Cooper, a former junior-college player who redshirted this past season.
Sy, who started 28 games for Virginia Tech in 2017, was an honorable mention National Junior College Athletic Association All-America pick this season for Daytona State.
The native of Senegal averaged 16.8 points while shooting 55.1 percent from the field and pulled down 9.8 rebounds a game. He also hit 32.0 percent from 3-point range and made 67.9 percent of his free throws.
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Watford and Quinones are each considering other schools, but both previously listed LSU among their finalists.
Watford, who is ranked 27th on the 247 Sports composite list, also has Memphis, Duke, Alabama and Indiana on his list.
The other finalists for Quinones, the 65th-ranked prospect on the 247 Sports composite, are Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Georgia, Memphis, Florida and Ohio State.
It’s likely that Sy, who is rated as the No. 4 junior-college prospect by JUCOrecruiting.com, Watford and Quinones won’t sign immediately.
Sy is expected to visit Ole Miss on April 24, according to 247 Sports, while Quinones has official visits scheduled to Indiana (April 24-26) and Michigan (April 29-30).
Watford, who played last month in the McDonald’s All-American game, had planned to announce who he’ll sign with at the Jordan Brand Classic all-star game on Saturday.
However, Watford tweeted Monday he was pushing his decision back because the game won’t be televised.
The coaching staff could also tap into the junior-college ranks or sign transfers — either graduate or underclassmen — to bolster the roster.