LSU freshman guard Javonte Smart will miss the Tigers’ season finale against Vanderbilt on Saturday night amid reports that may indicate LSU coach Will Wade provided improper benefits for his attendance at the university.
A news release signed off by senior associate Athletics Director Robert Munson announced his absence from the game, saying the choice was made “in an abundance of caution”.
The full release reads:
Javonte Smart will be held from today’s game against Vanderbilt. This is done only in an abundance of caution and as a result of the lack of clarity provided regarding media reports and reported wiretaps involving Head Coach Will Wade. This decision does not suggest, in any way, wrongdoing or knowledge of wrongdoing on Javonte’s part or his family. Javonte and his family have been fully cooperative and open with university officials. The decision to hold Javonte from today’s game is a difficult and disappointing one for everyone involved. Javonte is a valuable member of the team, the university and the LSU family. The university and NCAA continue to review the matter in order to come to a resolution as quickly as possible.
Smart currently averages 11.4 points and 2.5 assists per game, and he’s the SEC’s most recent Freshman of the Week.
He now sits at the center of the controversy surrounding Will Wade after a Yahoo Sports report on Thursday cited a wiretapped conversation between Wade and convicted college basketball middleman Christian Dawkins that seemed to show Wade discussing improper benefits with a third party involved in Smarts recruitment.
“I was thinking last night on this Smart thing,” Wade said on the wiretap. “I’ll be honest with you, I’m [expletive] tired of dealing with the thing. Like I’m just [expletive] sick of dealing with the [expletive]. Like, this should not be that [expletive] complicated.”
It is yet to be determined if the “Smart thing” directly involves Javonte Smart.