Will Wade says young LSU basketball team striving to get better

Seth Dunlap
November 28, 2018 - 10:44 pm

The LSU men's basketball team entered the season with high expectations, but also a roster littered with young, untested talent.  That's the tightrope most premier college basketball programs and head coaches are forced to walk in the modern one-and-done age of college basketball, and it's certainly no different here for LSU and head coach Will Wade.

While the Tigers entered the season ranked in the top-25, consecutive losses to Florida State (79-76) and Oklahoma State (90-77) in the AdvoCare classic leave the Tigers unranked.  Wade, who joined WWL Radio on Wednesday night, says that those two losses took a bit of a bite out of this young Tigers team.

"We didn't play with the toughness and spirit, and how we want to represent LSU.  We didn't play that way," Wade said, reflecting on the frustrating two game stretch.  "We have to get back to having a little bit better identity about ourselves, a little bit better way about ourselves.  Get back to work, and really just grinding things out and have some toughness."

Young stars like Naz Reid and Ja'vonte Smart grabbed a lot of the headlines in the offseason, and they've been good through seven games for the Tigers, averaging 12.1 and 11.1 points per game respectively.  However it's junior guard Skylar Mays that Wade says has impressed him the most so far this season.

"He's been phenomenal.  He's a phenomenal worker.  He's consistent.  Because of that consistency he's able to play well.  He's really stepped up and become a vocal leader for our team and helped our guys out.  I'm thrilled that he's playing well.  He's earned the right to play well.  He's going to have a great season for us."

LSU has another month-plus of their non-conference schedule before the calendar flips to 2019 and their SEC conference slate.  The conference is as top-heavy as we've seen in recent years, something that Wade noted he expected entering the season.

"Yeah, I thought Tennessee in the league.  I think that's proven itself out.  I think Auburn is pretty good.  Kentucky is good and getting better.  Mississippi State is a pretty good ball club.  There's some pretty good teams at the top of the league," Wade said.  "It will be another tough league schedule and we have to get our guys ready for another gauntlet in SEC play in January."

LSU plays Grambing this Saturday in the Pete Maravich Athletic Center at 4:00 p.m. CDT. 

Listen to Will Wade's full interview on "The Last Lap" in the podcast below, or by clicking here.

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