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LSU coach Will Wade shouts instructions to his players during a game against Georgia in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center, Saturday, March 7, 2020.

When preseason practice officially begins Wednesday, the LSU basketball team will take an unusual approach to its preparations for the upcoming season.

Instead of taking the court for an intense, fast-paced workout, coach Will Wade, who can hold 30 practices over the next 42 days leading up to the NCAA-mandated Nov. 25 season opener, will take things nice and slow.

Wade said last week that his team is still in the conditioning phase because of the uncertainty generated by the coronavirus pandemic. So wrapping that up and having the Tigers’ annual “boot camp” will take precedence for the next couple of weeks.

On a teleconference Tuesday, Wade said his team will continue conditioning this week and next, a period that will be capped by a rigorous three-day boot camp, before diving into full-fledged practices Oct. 26.

Coaches have been holding informal on-court workouts with small groups of players during the NCAA-allowed 12 hours per week. But that will increase to 20 hours weekly starting Wednesday.

“We’re looking at moving forward here, but we’re going to take it slow as we get going,” Wade said. “I like how our team is going. I like where we’re heading.”

Schedule coming together

Wade said he and associate athletic director Matt Laborde are coming down the stretch in re-working the 2020-21 schedule that was wrecked by the later start to the season.

Like many other schools across the nation, LSU will enter a bubble during Thanksgiving week and play three games in the Elevate Hoops-sponsored multi-team event in Lincoln, Nebraska.

The event will be Nov. 25-28. CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein reported last week that LSU will face Western Kentucky in one of its games. Other teams expected to participate are Nebraska, Oklahoma State, Northern Iowa, Nevada, Illinois State and Cleveland State.

LSU will return home to play Louisiana Tech on Dec. 6 before traveling to Atlanta to play South Florida (Dec. 12) and a still-to-be-named opponent two nights later.

Home games on Dec. 19 and 22 — one of them likely against VCU — will lead the team into the Southeastern Conference’s 18-game schedule that will begin Dec. 29 or 30.

The Tigers will also have a home game in the Big 12/SEC Challenge in late January to fill out a 27-game slate.

The recruiting trail

With three recruits for the 2021 class already lined up, Wade and his staff picked off another top prospect over the weekend in four-star forward Alex Fudge of Jacksonville, Florida.

He committed to the Tigers over Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Texas, Texas A&M, Central Florida and USC.

The 6-foot-8, 175-pound Fudge told 247 Sports he plans to enroll at LSU in January and redshirt this season. The addition of Fudge, the nation’s 45th-ranked prospect and No. 9 small forward, moved LSU’s class to 10th nationally and first in the SEC.

A 2020 signee, center Bradley Ezewiro, went to prep school and is expected to enroll at LSU next summer with Fudge, four-star center Jerrell Colbert of Germantown, Tennessee, and three-star shooting guard Brandon Murray of IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.


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Email Sheldon Mickles at smickles@theadvocate.com