Let’s get this out of the way: our basketball team is a living nightmare, our coach is a jamoke, and few can see a way out of this mess without setting it all on fire.
Prior to hiring Bryce Drew, many of us centered our focus on Will Wade. Tom Stephenson posted this. Personally, I wanted this to happen for the sportswriting puns regarding Wade Baldwin. In fact, I pontificated on the following pun constantly, “Will Wade Be Coached By Will Wade?”
Bryce Drew’s team has been a nightmare. Will Wade’s LSU team has been a top 10 powerhouse. As an alum of both universities, I pay attention to the goings on in both Nashville and Baton Rouge. Further, as a former employee of one of said universities, I raise my eyebrow when any aspect of LSU athletics jolts forward out of nowhere.
In short, my Scooby sense was right: Will Wade is Memphis John Calipari.
When I was in middle school, future John Calipari one and done Dajuan Wagner scored 100 points on me. Seriously. He then did that on many a high school basketball player in all of South Jersey, played one year in Memphis, and was the #6 overall pick in the 2002 draft for the Cleveland “One Year Before We Took LeBron” Cavaliers.
Dajuan was the best basketball player I had ever faced, or would ever face. He ruined me, my friends, and the tall kids who became coordinated around high school so as to keep people like me off the team. He had an NBA pedigreed dad and a tattoo that said “Messiah.” None of this was hubris, mind you. He repeatedly hung 100 on teams.
Still, the NCAA ‘crootin’ folks were beyond shocked when Coach Cal pulled Wagner for his Memphis Tigers. In short, I wasn’t. I knew, as it was not exactly a secret in my high school conference, that Calipari had offered a job to Dajuan Wagner’s dad, Milt. Further, though you can research for days without finding the particulars, the word around South Jersey was that Milt was given about $500k for a nondescript job, and, further, Dajuan’s best friend, Art Barclay, was given a full athletic scholarship so as to secure Wagner’s services for one year.
Surely LSU would not be so corrupt! Excuse me while I remind you that Louisiana is hot New Jersey, only with way more racists. In fact, both states have the highest amount of elected officials currently behind bars (and that number is, to be honest, far too low).
Now we see Will Wade giving his “strong ass offers.” Color me shocked.
Here is where I urge you to not jump to conclusions. Not the conclusion that Will Wade has been buying players—no, that is clearly true—but the conclusion that other teams and coaches who have not been caught are not buying players.
I had a friend who worked for multiple D1 basketball teams. He used to call me with the exact financial numbers needed for each school to get each player. He was always right in his guesses as to who would commit where.
Now I’m not saying we’re above all this. I just don’t know for sure that we have played a part in this nonsense. I just know that it is common. Frighteningly common.
And though this was the best class we’ve pulled in... ever?... we still suck.
I don’t know what any of this means.