LSU's Javonte Smart will sit during Saturday night's regular season finale against Vanderbilt after reports surfaced earlier in the week that the Tigers head coach Will Wade was caught on wiretap making an offer to former Adidas consultant Christian Dawkins for the freshman guard's commitment, Sports Illustrated's Ross Dellenger reports.
Stadium's Jeff Goodman was first to report that Smart was likely to be held out of the contest.
The Baton Rogue native was reportedly at the center of a 2017 phone call that included Wade talking about an "offer" to a player and his family. Wade only referred to the situation as "this Smart thing," during his conversation with Dawkins but suggested that a player's verbal committment had been delayed because they weren't offered a big "enough piece of the pie in the deal."
"I was thinking last night on this Smart thing," Wade told Dawkins, according to Yahoo Sports. "I’ll be honest with you, I’m [expletive] tired of dealing with the thing. Like I’m just [expletive] sick of dealing with the [expletive]. Like, this should not be that [expletive] complicated."
No other details were divulged on the phone call.
Dawkins was sentenced to six months in federal prison earlier this week after being found guilty of fraud and conspiracy charges for facilitating payments from programs to the families of recruits. He has been connected to several schools including Louisville, Kansas and NC State, among others, and most recently to Creighton and TCU along with LSU.
ESPN reported in Oct. 2018 that Dawkins "had at least three phone calls" with a number belonging to Wade between June 19–30, 2017. LSU's freshman guard Javonte Smart committed to LSU on Twitter on June, 30 2017.
Wade was suspended by the school indefinitely on Friday.
"All of us at LSU share the obligation to protect the integrity of this institution," LSU President and Chancellor F. King Alexander and Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Joe Alleva said in the University's statement. "As such we have suspended Head Coach Will Wade indefinitely until such team as we can ensure full compliance with the NCAA as well as institutional policies and standards."
Wade provided a statement to NOLA.com regarding his suspension on Friday evening, asking "everyone to withhold their judgment until the record is complete."
Smart is averaging 11.5 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game for his hometown team on 30.3 minutes of playing time. He's made 17 starts in 30 appearances this season for an LSU team that sits at 25–5, good for a No. 10 ranking nationally, going into Saturday night's clash with the Commodores.
The Tigers entered Saturday tied atop the SEC with Tennessee.