3 thoughts on LSU’s decision to hire Will Wade as its next basketball coach
Welcome to the Bayou Bengal Briefing, SEC Country’s daily morning column covering LSU football, with LSU beat writer Nick Suss. Today we discuss the LSU basketball team’s hiring of Will Wade, the passing of LSU football’s most iconic torch, some good, old-fashioned trash talk and more. Enjoy!
Where there’s a Will…
The LSU athletic department dumped some pretty big news late last night, announcing the hiring of VCU basketball coach Will Wade to take over the same position in Baton Rouge.
A 34-year-old head coach of four years between VCU and Chattanooga, Wade comes to LSU as both the youngest and least experienced head coach in the SEC. But what Wade lacks in experience, he makes up for in substance. Wade’s two teams at VCU both ranked among the top 40 teams in the nation in defensive efficiency, something LSU struggled with markedly in the Johnny Jones era. And in those two seasons, Wade made as many NCAA Tournaments, one, as Jones did in his entire LSU tenure.
As I talked about yesterday on the radio, this Wade situation strikes me as somewhat ironic after what LSU went through with Tom Herman. After the Tigers got either outbid or outfoxed by Texas for one of the more sought after young coaches in recent college football memory, LSU took the proactive stance with Wade, making a decision on him before his alma mater, Clemson, could really get involved.
I don’t know how to grade this hire yet. It’s really going to be up to what he can get out of the recruiting class that’ll show up on campus in the fall of 2018, since Johnny Jones’ final class is already wrapped and signed. But Wade is young and his track record is good. If he succeeds at LSU, he could end up succeeding at LSU for a long, long time.
After all, Dale Brown was 37 years old when he took over atop the LSU basketball program. Look how that worked out. Youth isn’t always bad.
Your weekly LSU poll recap
Serendipity strikes again!
In yesterday’s Bayou Bengal Briefing, I asked you which of the many possible candidates for head coach you would like Joe Alleva to hire to run the LSU basketball program. Here are your responses.
A 45 percent plurality of you voted for Will Wade, a good sign of the incoming approval rating for the coach.
In second place came former Indiana coach Tom Crean with 24 percent of the vote. It doesn’t seem like Crean got too much attention from LSU in the process. Possibly because Alleva wanted to go with a younger candidate. Or possibly because Crean is in many respects the Les Miles of college basketball.
Middle Tennesse State coach Kermit Davis slotted in third with 12 percent of the vote, followed by Northwestern coach Chris Collins at 7 percent, Nevada coach Eric Musselman at 5 percent and Iowa State coach Steve Prohm at 2 percent.
Additionally, some of you wrote in some candidates of your own. The responses ranged from serious (Minnesota coach Richard Pitino) to a little too optimistic (Oklahoma City Thunder coach Billy Donovan) to downright silly and preposterous (Coach K, anyone?).
But I thank you all for participating in this week’s poll. Come back to the Briefing next Monday for our next poll, when we’ll likely be back to talking LSU football. Speaking of which…
LSU football’s highest honor
LSU football coach Ed Orgeron bestowed the school’s highest honor yesterday, giving out the team’s storied No. 18 jersey to defensive end Christian LaCouture.
LaCouture will be the first defensive lineman to wear the number since Bennie Logan in 2012 and will keep it on the defensive sideline for the third straight season. And while some might question why it didn’t go to fullback J.D. Moore, who teammates made a push to get the honor, LaCouture seems like the obvious choice.
But here’s my question: Isn’t this a little bit soon? LSU normally makes the presentation of who will wear No. 18 in August before the season begins. I get the impetus. Why wait when you’ve made a decision? But, this is a tradition after all. And most people around here don’t take too kindly to changing traditions all willy-nilly, especially when Orgeron made the announcement before he told LaCouture the official news first.
It’s not a big deal. It just strikes me as odd. I’m happy for LaCouture and think he’ll do the number justice. But timing is everything. And burying this news on a Monday in March seems out of place.
As if your calendars weren’t already marked…
Florida and LSU are the kind of rivals that hate each other because they’re too darn similar. Both are programs with long histories, iconic Heisman Trophy winners and legitimate claims to the title of DBU.
Maybe that’s why, while LSU-Alabama gets all the headlines, LSU-Florida often feels like the closer, more intimate affair. And one pair of rivals got the smack talk going early.
It all started with one innocuous tweet. Florida defensive back Chauncey Gardner, formerly a safety, announced he’ll be moving to cornerback.
I'm Officially A Corner ….. WATCH ME WORK ?‼️ Bye Twitter…..
— Chauncey Gardner Jr (@1WayGardner) March 20, 2017
It’s a move that makes sense. He was the nation’s No. 4 corner out of high school and with Teez Tabor and Quincy Wilson moving onto the NFL, it’s a position Florida needs to fill. But LSU wide receiver Dee Anderson doesn’t care about logic. He cares about bragging rights.
— 2️⃣1️⃣0️⃣0️⃣ (@DeeAnderson21) March 21, 2017
Of course, Anderson’s claim ended with him being roasted by Florida fans on Twitter. But there’s nothing wrong with a little confidence. Anderson’s a physical freak. Never mind the fact that he had all of 73 receiving yards last season and LSU’s only had one 200-yard receiving game since 2001. And that came from all-world talent Odell Beckham Jr against an FCS school.
To quote an annoying pop song, what’s wrong with being confident? Dee Anderson, smack talk all you want. You make the offseason fun.
LSU football news from the elder Moffitt
As he does four times a week, LSU football strength and conditioning coach Tommy Moffitt tweeted out his big board of “Weight Lifters of the Day” yesterday. Here’s a glimpse at how LSU’s players shook out on Monday.
— Tommy Moffitt (@TommyMoffitt) March 20, 2017
- Stephen Sullivan has been a mainstay on the board at wideout for the past couple of weeks. Sullivan is in a precarious position behind guys like D.J. Chark and Anderson on the depth chart. But if he keeps working hard, his 6-foot-6 frame and high work ethic should get him some playing time.
- Glen Logan’s nickname is apparently “Bubbles.” For someone that large to be nicknamed Bubbles, he must be a special kind of gentle or equally terrifying to earn that sort of ironic nickname.
- Terrence Magee was back on campus yesterday the day Orgeron gave out No. 18. Perhaps as a former 18 himself, he was involved with the decision. (I like to imagine this number is passed down through a council of robe-clad elders who vote using candles and smoke. It’s probably not like that. Probably.)
- Kristian Fulton is a name we haven’t heard as much about this spring as I expected to. His name is on the board pretty frequently, but I thought he’d be challenging more for a starting spot in the LSU secondary at this point. Right now, he’s behind Xavier Lewis at the nickel. That’s subject to change, obviously. So be on the lookout if his on-field catches up to his off-the-field.
LSU football news from the younger Moffitt
Aaron Moffitt, son of Tommy Moffitt, is an LSU football signee who will join the team as a defensive tackle this summer. SEC Country’s Alex Hickey and I caught up with Aaron yesterday at Catholic High School in Baton Rouge and chatted with him for a good three hours, including a brief interlude to shoot this video.
Alex and I will have plenty of stories out of our chats with Aaron over the next week or so, so keep your eyes peeled for content on him, and his Catholic teammate Clyde Edwards-Helaire, an LSU running back signee.
Today in made-up holidays
According to the fine folks over at NationalDayCalendar.com, today is “National Common Courtesy Day,” a day where we’re supposed to focus on treating others with kindness and decency.
If you’re thinking to yourself “Hey, aren’t we supposed to do that every day?,” you can stop reading right now. Thanks for making it this far.
But if you, like most of us, struggle to be decent on a daily basis, here are some tips that I’m going to try to follow today, and every day. Yes, they’re LSU themed.
- Don’t tweet at recruits. Ever. This is non-negotiable.
- Are you thinking about roasting Joe Alleva when he introduces Will Wade? Maybe don’t. Just save whatever snide comment you have for another time.
- Want to kick sand in Johnny Jones’ face with some extra shade on his way out? Use that shade for something productive and sit under it. It’s getting hot outside, Louisiana.
- Seriously. Don’t tweet at recruits.
- Are you adamant the INSERT QUARTERBACK X should be LSU’s next starting quarterback and he’s not getting his fair shake? Instead of arbitrarily fuming about it, become a world-class quarterbacks coach and get hired at LSU so you get to make those sorts of decisions.
- Say please and thank you whenever you interact with people. Unless it’s a recruit on Twitter. Then say nothing. Because you shouldn’t tweet at recruits.
- Are you still angry at Leonard Fournette for not playing in LSU’s bowl game? Maybe let that one go. LSU won. And Derrius Guice played great. And Fournette had a great career. Plus it’s been like three months. Let it go.
- Did you think this segment of the Bayou Bengal Briefing ran too long? Spare me. I know I’m funny, darn it. But if you must complain, tweet me @nicksuss. Make no mistake. I am not a recruit. You can tweet at me all you want.
Miss a previous edition of the Bayou Bengal Briefing? Find every column of SEC Country’s daily LSU football column right here.