DALLAS — Will Wade brought a PowerPoint presentation with him for his appearance at the Coaches Caravan at the Omni Fort Worth Hotel on Saturday afternoon.
The second-year hoops coach had some jokes, too.
“People asked me about our offense last season,” Wade told a packed room during a Q&A session. “It was Tre and pray. Get the ball to Tremont (Waters) and pray something goes right.”
Waters averaged 15.9 points, 3.4 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 2.0 steals per game during his freshman season en route to landing a spot on the SEC All-Freshman team. The diminutive guard shouldered a heavy load in leading LSU to an NIT berth.
Now entering year two, Wade thinks Waters will only improve as LSU integrates a handful of blue chip newcomers to complement a returning core of guards like Waters and Skylar Mays.
“We were high risk, high reward last season,” Wade said. “This year we’ll be a little more solid. We’ll play better basketball and we won’t be as high risk with the basketball. It’ll benefit Tremont, and it’ll benefit everybody. It’s tough when you’ve got to carry a load like that. It helps to spread it around.”
LSU’s offense last season typically revolved around running a series of ball screens as Waters tried to make plays for himself or teammates.
When Waters was hot, LSU was tough to beat. When teams were able to solve those balls screens, “hey “could shut our water off,” as Wade put it.
The idea now is that talented big men like Naz Reid — a likely one-and-done player, according to Wade — Darius Days and Emmitt Williams mean more options for Waters as a distributor and less attention of him from the defense.
“Once you get to the next level, everything is built on efficiency,” Wade said. “It’s not based on how many points you score. It’s how many points per minute, how many rebounds per minute that you’re on the court. What are you doing in the time that you’re allotted?”
The coach continued: “So as we played guys longer, our efficiency numbers just nosedived. We want guys that can play shorter and harder. It’s not about the quantity of minutes, it’s the quality and what you produce and what you get done. Having the depth with those other guys will really help.”
Wade expects the influx of talent will enable LSU to be more diverse on both ends of the floor. Last season LSU had to gameplan for each opponent’s tendencies and match up as best they could.
Now Wade wants LSU to establish an identity and a system all their own. The end game of that versatility could be a greater ability to adjust on the fly or attack an opponent’s weakness with more efficiency.
“We’ve spent a lot of time working on some motions concepts and some high-low stuff,” Wade said. “Just some more power basketball type things so we can shoot it a bit closer to the rim and get to the paint a little bit easier. We can use some versatile lineups and go big at the three or four spots.”
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