NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Freshman guard Javonte Smart was reinstated Friday morning by LSU, making him available to play in the Tigers' Southeastern Conference tournament opener here at noon against Florida.
"Smart has fully cooperated and participated in a joint inquiry with LSU and the NCAA resulting from reports of wiretapped conversations purportedly involving Head Coach Will Wade," said a statement released by LSU just before 10 a.m.
"Though the inquiry is not closed, after multiple additional interviews, there has been no wrongdoing identified to date."
Video below shows Smart warming up prior to tip off.
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"During this process, the NCAA has been extremely helpful in their efforts along with LSU officials," Robert Munson, LSU senior associate athletic director, said shortly after the Tigers entered the arena. "Everyone has worked very hard to get to this point,"
Smart's name was reportedly mentioned by Wade in a wiretapped phone conversation from 2017 with federally-convicted sports agent Christian Dawkins.
The university suspended Wade indefinitely on Friday then subsequently decided to hold Smart out of the Vanderbilt game the following day.
According to the initial Yahoo! Sports story published March 7 on the wiretapped Wade conversations which led to his suspension, there is no reference any specific offer to Smart. The tape also does not reference any specifics about the “offer,”
if the particulars of the “offer” violated NCAA rules, and whether Smart and/or his mother Melinda ever knew of the “offer” or if anyone accepted whatever the “offer” was.
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Though Wade issued a statement Thursday asking to be allowed to continue to coach the team, he continues to decline to speak to university officials about the wiretap.
Tom Skinner, LSU's general counsel and vice president for legal affairs, told The Advocate's editorial board Wednesday that Smart and his mother were cooperating with LSU and NCAA investigators.
In that meeting, Skinner also said LSU was seeking to speak to two people who may have been Smart's unnamed handler in the wiretapped calls and that those persons had agreed to speak to the university. Those persons could be the "multiple additional interviews" mentioned in the LSU statement.
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"Because of his full cooperation and transparency in this matter, Smart has been cleared by university officials for play on Friday," the LSU statement reads.
A three-time Louisiana Mr. Basketball at Scotlandville High School, Smart is averaging 11.5 points and 2.5 assists a game this season.
Smart was effective replacing Tremont Waters in the starting lineup when Waters missed time due to an unspecified illness, including a career-high 29 points in LSU's overtime victory over Tennessee on Feb. 23.
Advocate sportswriter Sheldon Mickles contributed to this report.