Finally, movement in the LSU-Will Wade stalemate.
It’s about time.
Frankly, there are reasons why the two sides look like they’re almost out of time.
LSU confirmed Thursday that Wade, LSU officials and NCAA representatives will sit down Friday to talk.
A resolution to the month-long stalemate between LSU and men's basketball coach Will Wade could finally be near.
As the late Bill Arnsparger once asked, “What’s wrong with talking?”
Nothing, unless it potentially costs you your job if you’re Wade. And a suddenly potent men’s basketball program if you’re LSU.
When LSU suspended Wade on March 8, it quickly appeared that he and LSU would not sit down to talk until after April 22. That's when the next trial of convicted college basketball middleman Christian Dawkins begins in New York — and Wade, of course, was reportedly on a federal wiretap having a conversation with Dawkins, discussing a "strong-ass offer" to a recruit.
Wade has been subpoenaed to testify. And that meant if the trial dragged on, as trials do, it would be a long, long wait.
Whether Wade does testify remains a matter of conjecture. Federal prosecutors in New York do not want him to. In the meantime, Wade is going to have to do some talking to LSU and the NCAA if he hopes to retain his job.
There are a lot of bets out there that say Wade is done at LSU. But LSU wants him to stay. And as best we can tell, Wade wants to stay.
But the shot clock is ticking. Loudly.
LSU players are declaring for the NBA draft in droves. The count was up to five as of Thursday afternoon (I fear I may have missed yet another one, but you know, deadlines are deadlines). Javonte Smart and Emmitt Williams joined Skylar Mays, Tremont Waters and Naz Reid, all saying they have decided to enter the draft.
The LSU men's basketball team now has five early entrants for the NBA draft after announcements Thursday from two more members of Will Wade's …
LSU basketball has lost another player to this year's NBA draft.
Of course, players can enter the draft and not follow through with it. Waters and Reid are not coming back to LSU. But the other three definitely could. Especially if the coach who helped mold them into a Southeastern Conference championship-winning, Sweet 16-reaching, 28-victory-achieving unit.
No way of knowing for sure, but one could make the argument that Mays, Smart and Williams are conspiring to force LSU’s hand in the Wade situation.
From LSU’s perspective, the time is now. Get what they want to hear from Wade — and potentially be willing to suffer the slings and arrows to follow if he is retained — or tell him to get lost.
The reasons are out there for all to see. Three SEC West rivals (no, there are no divisions in SEC basketball anymore, but play along) have already filled their coaching vacancies: Alabama, Arkansas and Texas A&M. And Arkansas hired a guy, former Nevada head coach and LSU assistant Eric Musselman, who could have been on LSU’s radar if it were in the market for a new coach.
Lastly, there is recruiting, the lifeblood of any program. The spring signing period begins next Wednesday — and considering the current landscape at LSU, with no coach and an ever-thinning roster, it’s hard to envision any recruits worth their sneakers doing the limbo to sign with the Tigers.
So, it’s time. Time to make a deal, or deal Wade out. And right soon.
Now that the college basketball season has been completed, coaches around the country began focusing Tuesday on the next big date on the NCAA …
There is certainly no guarantee that anything will be known for sure after the LSU-Wade-NCAA meeting goes down. It’s likely that we won’t know anything, at least not right away.
But there had to be movement. There had to be a start. This had to happen for the sake of everyone involved. A school, a coach, a program, its players, and the faith of a suddenly basketball-charged fan base.
Hopefully for all concerned, this is the beginning of the end.