Will Wade has known since last year that the majority of the Tigers' offensive crux was going to be departing after the season. It's a scenario that the coaching staff have prepared months for as Javonte Smart, Darius Days and Trendon Watford have all elected to move on to professional basketball.
Cam Thomas hasn't officially declared yet but he's moving on as well as a projected first round pick in this year's draft. Despite losing the majority of the production from last season, there is a lot to be excited about in the returning players who gained valuable experience as freshmen but the program needs more.
Wade believes in the talent that exists on the roster and the three young players the team has signed, Alex Fudge, Jerrell Colbert and Bradley Ezewiro, but knows that talent and youth alone won't keep LSU in the SEC hunt. That's where the transfer portal comes in.
"We knew going into the season that this would be most of them's last season," Wade said on the Jordy Culotta Show. "We had been preparing for this and understanding that the transfer portal is going to change things a little bit. We feel great about the three guys we signed but we understand we have to supplement that with some experience."
The Tigers need experience and Wade and the coaching staff are attacking the transfer portal hard over the next several weeks. Wade said LSU is looking to add two or three players from the portal ahead of the 2021-22 season and has honed in on a specific type of player.
"We're being very careful and very organized with who we're looking at in the portal. We're not trying to cast a huge net, we've got a formula, a grade sheet on who's gonna fit and really trying to hone in on those guys that come from winning programs," Wade said. "We've got some really good guys in the program, they just basically played behind four All-SEC guys so they couldn't do as much this season. But we've got very talented players and we need to supplement it with experience."
Wade is in search of very specific types of players including a defensive minded, shot blocking big that can protect the rim, something LSU hasn't had since Kavell Bigby-Williams, as well as a combo guard who can create his own shot while creating for others.
All of this will be in an attempt to improve some of the deficiencies that cropped up the last season, including rebounding and improving the movement and flow in the half court offense.
"We're not going to bring in anybody that's not a sure fire SEC starter in our minds, we wanna make sure we're bringing in guys that are gonna help us and contribute from day one," Wade said.