This time last year, while attempting to sell his team as underrated, LSU coach Will Wade told SI, “Well, the truth is, a lot of those people don’t like me too much” referencing media pundits and AP voters.
The culmination of the source of the disdain came last Saturday when Wade was fired surrounding an NCAA notice of allegations that include eight Level I violations, seven of which are directly tied to the men’s basketball program, according to multiple reports.
In the allegations, Wade was accused of everything from arranging to outright offering impermissible payments to elite hoops prospects, parents and coaches, among other things.
Four days after Wade got the boot, Baton Rouge is still wondering what the effects will be, specifically regarding recruitment.
While Wade was clear on the dislike in certain circles at the collegiate level, his impact as a likable figure in the recruiting space was legendary, evident of his No. 17 recruiting class in the 2022 SI All-American Top 25 basketball team rankings.
On Monday, the first domino from the fallout tipped when SI99 wing Devin Ree announced his decommitment from the Tigers.
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"I was 100% committed to LSU and their staff, but with all the uncertainty lingering around their program I'm saddened to announce I will be reopening my recruitment," Ree posted on his Twitter.
Ree was the first, but he won’t be the last; expect more decommitments from multiple classes in the coming weeks followed by a potential mass exodus when the Tigers conclude their season.
The No. 6 Tigers will take on No. 11 Iowa State Friday night in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
The prevailing sentiment among prospects connected to LSU is clear: Wade was the draw, a player’s coach extraordinaire who had the innate ability to connect with players on levels that transcend the hardwood.
That said, two things can be true: Wade was beloved his players and LSU athletic director Scott Woodward had to boot him.
The good news for Tigers fans is that Woodward is no stranger to a high profile coaching search; thing is, looming sanctions tend to throw a strike in homerun hires.
Time isn’t a luxury that Woodward has as it pertains to the teenagers waiting on the word.
The precariousness of LSU’s future is a weakness other schools are already successfully exploiting.