head coach Will Wade addressed the media Tuesday for the first time since being suspended indefinitely in early March amid concerns over his recruiting tactics and whether they violated NCAA rules.
The 36-year-old expressed regret for not talking with the school sooner, which he felt worsened the issue and led to his prolonged absence.
“I wish, looking back on things, we could have gotten into a room together a lot quicker than we did,” Wade said, according to. “That was my mistake. I respect LSU’s decision based on that.”
An FBI wiretap captured a 2017 phone conversation between Wade and former agent Christian Dawkins discussing an offer for a potential recruit. The bench boss said he hasn’t heard the recording but disputed former Arizona assistant coach Emanuel “Book” Richardson’s claim that Wade had told him there was a $300,000 deal in place to secure then five-star recruit Naz Reid.
“It was absolutely false and did not happen,” Wade said.
The Tigers reached the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2006 during Wade’s suspension. LSU finished 28-7 overall, including a 16-2 record in SEC play. The school captured its first SEC regular-season title in 10 years. Wade is 43-20 in two seasons at the helm of LSU.
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