In a press conference on Monday, senior guard Skylar Mays and coach Will Wade had plenty to say in regards to their upcoming basketball season. Following their trip to Spain, Wade addressed the current state of the team and their plans as they head into their first practice Friday.
Preseason Spain trip
One thing that Wade stressed was the fact the trip to Spain left the team a bit unorganized. Despite this, Wade feels as though the team is in a better position going forward.
"It's been a little bit all over the place since we got back from Spain," Wade said. "We need to be in a much better routine as we start practice on Friday and get into our weekly habits. I like our group, we're progressing.”
The team got a headstart in building chemistry with the newcomers by winning three out of their four games overseas. This will undoubtedly serve as a confidence-booster before the season officially begins.
Wade says he tried to give the incoming players lots of action to prepare them for the season. New faces include three freshmen — guard James Bishop, and forwards Trendon Watford and Aundre Hyatt, who redshirted last season — and four transfers — guards Parker Edwards, Charles Manning Jr., Caleb Starks and center Deshawn Thomas.
“I thought Charles Manning was phenomenal,” Wade said. “Trendon led us in scoring, and also, Bishop had his moments. I thought we got a lot out of the trip from those guys just understanding where they are and what we need to improve on.”
Skylar Mays’ role as team leader
Mays returns for his final season at LSU, and he hopes to go out with a bang. Wade had high praise for Mays, who played a pivotal role during the team’s NCAA Tournament run last season.
“He’s everything you want,” Wade said. “He does everything right. He’s really kind of growing into a leader this year. He’s not going to be the most vocal leader, but he leads by example.”
Mays reflected on his time at LSU and what it has meant for him as both a player and a person. As a Baton Rouge native, being apart of LSU goes beyond basketball.
“It’s been a joy to represent this university,” Mays said. “Being on the court with all the different guys and all the different relationships I’ve built has been a wonderful experience for me.”
LSU Football and Burrow for Heisman
While LSU basketball was clearly the main focus for Mays and Wade while addressing the media, they could not help but marvel at the football team’s success so far this season.
“It’s his world and we’re just living in it, man,” Mays said when asked about LSU senior quarterback Joe Burrow. “He seems like he approaches everything the right way like a champion is supposed to. We’re hoping that all the work that he’s doing and all the great things he’s doing leads to that.”
Wade even went as far as to compare Burrow to sophomore guard Javonte Smart in terms of the in-game confidence they both express.
“He was jawing at the Vanderbilt players a little bit,” Wade said. “You gotta like that. Your team likes that. It’s kind of like Javonte for us. When [Smart] is out there in the front of the defense and he gets going, your team feeds off that whether it’s your point guard, your quarterback, whoever it may be.
"I hope he wins the Heisman."