9-25-17 Will Wade

LSU basketball coach Will Wade talks at media day on Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

It’s never too early to start seeing what’s next in the world of college basketball recruiting.

For LSU, coach Will Wade is still under suspension and that leaves major questions as to what will happen with LSU’s 2019 signing class.

With no end in sight or breakthroughs on the Wade front and his subpoenaed testimony for the April 22 federal trial approaching, that may be a problem considering the Division I basketball regular signing period begins on April 17.

If you’ve been keeping up with LSU basketball this season you probably already know about these important dates, but we’ve now reached the unknown that is recruiting.

As of April 5, freshman forward Naz Reid, sophomore guard Tremont Waters and junior Skylar Mays declared for the NBA like many had suspected. So with these two departures in mind, let’s dive into some LSU recruiting and see who’s actually signed, committed and being targeted.

The way the current roster is projected to turnover next season, there looks like there will be about four open scholarships that LSU will try to fill.

LSU currently has two players signed in the 2019 class.

First is Charles Manning out of Florida SouthWestern State Junior College. Manning is listed around 6-foot-5 to 6-foot-6 on most recruiting sites and plays mostly a shooting guard role in his college offense. Manning is proficient in driving into the paint and finishing through contact at the rim, and is a reliable knock-down shooter when he’s playing off the ball.

After Wade’s stint at VCU and now at LSU, it is clear that he does not mind going to the JUCO ranks to pick up solid players that model the attacking style offense he emphasized the Tigers would have when he first got to Baton Rouge.

Next up is James Bishop from Mount Saint Joseph High School out of Baltimore, Maryland. Bishop is listed at about 6-foot-1 to 6-foot-2 on a majority of recruiting boards and plays a mixture of shooting guard and point guard roles. Bishop shoots with his left hand. The southpaw guard is capable of breaking defenders down to get his shot off and has a deceptively quick first-step off the dribble, too. He is a capable knock-down shooter in his own right, and just excels from a scoring standpoint from distances in and around the basket.

So that’s two of four openings filled and LSU’s got their guards, but what about big men?

With senior forward Kavell Bigby-Williams graduating and freshman forward Naz Reid declaring, LSU has lost their two bigs, who were capable of playing a five-man center role on the floor.

That makes these last two spots that LSU needs to fill important from a roster standpoint in terms of size.

Again, Wade is going back to the junior college ranks with his pursuit of big man forward Khadim Sy out of Daytona State Junior College. Sy is listed at about 6-foot-10 and is built like a linebacker in terms of his body that can play physical in the low post.

The forward has a nice developed post game that is showcased by his crafty and nimble footwork when his back is turned to the basket. This would be a huge get for LSU if he signs.

And last but not least, is the highly touted five-star McDonald’s All-American in Trendon Watford from Mountain Brook high school out of Birmingham, Alabama. The six-foot-9 forward is a coveted talent — as you might expect — and has narrowed down his list of schools to Memphis, Alabama, Duke, Indiana and LSU.

In terms of skill, there’s not much Watford can’t do on the floor. He’s athletic, quick, explosive and covers ground exceptionally well with footwork that translates almost to that of a guard. He makes his living driving the floor and even sometimes mixing in a Euro step for finishing near the rim.

He can handle the ball well for a man of his size and create enough space to get off a decent mid-range. He’s got the ability to hit the three-ball as well off clean looks.

If LSU does miss out on Watford, it won’t be the end of the world as Wade redshirted his versatile 6-foot-8 forward in Courtese Cooper this season. Wade talks glowingly about Cooper and everything he’s provided this season’s team in terms of preparation via his scout team play.

A lot is going to happen in the next three weeks concerning the LSU basketball program and we’ll see just how that plays out in recruiting from April 17 and possibly beyond.

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