The smile on Skylar Mays’ face as he signed his National Letter of Intent with LSU on Friday was about more than the piece of paper in front of him.
It was also about coming home, armed with a class of prospects he’s ready to feed – and feed off of.
Mays, a four-star prospect according to Rivals and ESPN, inked his future to LSU in Nevada, where he’s spending his senior season at national powerhouse Findlay Prep after a stellar four-year career at University High in Baton Rouge. When he makes his way back to campus for his freshman season, Mays, the fifth player in Johnny Jones’ 2016 recruiting class, will be joined by a squad of signees that could fill out a lineup card.
There’s Aussie shooter Kieran Hayward and junior college slasher Branden Jenkins on the wings. Jenkins’ 6-foot-10 teammate Duop Reath provides the length inside, while Mays’ former teammate, U-High star Wayde Sims, is the versatile combo forward.
It’s the perfect fit for Mays, a 6-foot-4 pass-first point guard with elite vision and explosiveness around the rim.
“They’re losing a lot of guards, so I felt like it was an opportunity for me to come in and run the show there,” he said. “Coach Jones is a versatile coach. He’s a players’ coach as well. They run a lot of ball screens, which is my favorite part of the basketball game. I feel like I can really come in there and make an instant impact. I’m excited to be a Bayou Bengal.”
Mays, in particular, is itching to re-unite with Sims. The two are best friends off the court, and share incredible chemistry on it, pick-and-rolling their way to consecutive 3A titles at U-High.
“Wayde is my guy,” said Mays, who averaged 8 assists per game last year en route to First Team All-State honors. “I’ve played with Wayde since I was 7 years old. We’ve developed extremely good chemistry. Anyone who has seen Wayde and me play together would know that we really feed off each other very well.”
LSU was the first to offer Mays, who committed in February of 2014 but re-opened his recruitment that June. After exploring other options like UNLV and Baylor, he re-pledged to the Tigers in August, taking an official visit in October for the weekend of the Florida game with Sims and Jenkins.
Mays said the highlight of the visit was seeing his family again, who have remained in town while he’s at Findlay, but a close second was getting a first look at LSU’s Cox Communications Academic Center for Student Athletes.
“I was really impressed with that,” he said. “I was amazed by how many computers they had in there. You get a lot of help from the academic staff, which is big for me, because I’m so big on my academics.”
Before he arrives, Mays has a season to complete at Findlay Prep. He’s fine-tuning his jumper and taking advantage of the national spotlight that comes with playing at a high-profile prep program.
“At practice, the college coaches that are coming to see the other guys on the team have been contacting Coach Jones and saying how they’ve been impressed with my game,” he said. “They (LSU’s coaches) just told me to continue to work hard, stay focused, and they’re happy I’m on board.”
He’s just as happy to be on board. It’s a homecoming he’s long looked forward to, and having a class around him that could form a formidable starting five doesn’t hurt matters, either.
“I like to pass the ball, so I like to be with shooters. It gets me more assists,” he said. “This is a big class we’ve got coming in. I’ve talked to Wayde a lot. That’s my best friend. We’re just excited to be a part of the LSU family.”