Will Wade talks rotation, injuries, and the importance of the 4

By CODY WORSHAM | Tiger Rag Editor

Will Wade met with the media on Tuesday, briefing reporters on the last week of practice and the latest on the injury front.

Wade said two of his starting five spots are basically nailed down, though he didn’t elaborate which two. (My guess: Skylar Mays at the 2 and Duop Reath at the 5).  He also talked about the importance of the 4 position in his system and updated the status of Galen Alexander (knee) and Jeremy Combs (ankle).

Here’s a transcript of his comments, as provided by LSU.

Opening statement…
“Injury update: Galen (Alexander) has been back at practice so he is probably 90-95 percent of the way back. He has been able to practice and he went through boot camp so that is good. (Jeremy) Combs has started running. He ran for 30 minutes on the treadmill yesterday. Hopefully later on this week or early next week we can progress him to where he can run on the court which would be good. That would be the next step in his progression. Galen is mended up and Combs is certainly headed that way. I would say that is a positive and we just did the day-to-day practice sessions right now. Trying to get a little bit better, a little bit crisper with what we are doing both offensively and defensively. We have a lot of work ahead of us.”

On what he expects from the four position this season…
“The four position is critical. Next to the point guard it is probably the most critical position we have. We have to require that guy to make a lot of decisions. He is basically a two or three man out there at the four. The four next to the point guard is the most critical piece we have in our offense and how we do things. You have to make a lot of decisions at the four. You have to be a good shooter. You are more likely to play a smaller guy than a bigger guy there. (Mayan) Kiir has spent a vast majority at the five for us. He slid over to the four a little bit, but he is mostly at the five. The four is a critical spot. It is really a wing that we play a four guard type that we play. We need someone who is versatile. If they have a bigger guy on him, then we will play him on the perimeter. He plays on the perimeter about 80 percent of the time and he can drive inside … It has to be someone who is versatile and can be a really good offensive rebounder. We are still working each of them have their strengths, each of them have their weaknesses. We are still working. (Aaron) Epps is definitely the best shooter of the group. You get disappointed when he misses because when it leaves his hands you think it is going in. He shoots the ball really well and is a very good offensive rebounder. (Wayde) Sims really knows how to play. He is a good shooter, but he knows how to play, he knows how to move, he knows how to make things happen when he is out there. It is kind of an overused term, but the ball always finds him. He has a way of being around the ball.”

On Aaron Epps’ three-point shooting…
“I just judge on what he has done and he has worked on it quite a bit. He spends a lot of time in the gym working on it. When you work on something you are usually pretty good at it. He is a weapon. He is a 6’10’’ kid who can shoot 40 plus percent from three this year. That is a pretty good weapon to have.”

On having a full roster for the first time in a while…
“The way we practice we get some guys banged up. It is a physical game. It is important to have the bodies. We have two walk-ons that are really good for us. Marshall Graves can really shoot for us. He can stick his nose in there. Reed (Vial) is a tough kid. He played at Parkview here in town. He is really tough kid helps us in practice. He is strong and knows how to play. I think it is important to have numbers so you can have good competitive practices. People know that if you want to slouch off this day that there is someone behind you. There is not a lot of difference in a lot of our guys. We have a lot of similar guys in ability level and it is about who is consistent and who is going to work the hardest each day. When you have that competition that is very helpful when you have the numbers that we have.”

On starting to get an idea of the rotation he wants…
“It’ll probably be a couple more weeks. Changes daily, it is like the stock market, it does goes up and down. If you asked me today I may give you five. If you asked me tomorrow I may give you another five. I would say there are two guys now that I feel very comfortable with. The other three you can change all the time. There are two of them that I feel comfortable with them. I trust their body of work, I trust their consistent effort, and I trust their toughness. There are two guys that I almost said they are shoo-ins, but they could fall off the face of the map, but they’ve shown no sign of that since we’ve been here. The other three, pick a day. That is a good thing too. We have a lot of guys where there is not a lot of difference. If one guy is not ready to go, you can wheel another one out there. You have different options which is good. We have a lot of guys that are similar players and they all want to play. Nobody wants to sit the bench.”

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Cody Worsham

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