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Will Wade: “Different” From The Jump

On his first day on the job, Will Wade brought something needed for the LSU program: enthusiasm and ambition.

Adam Henderson

Let me start by saying that the song is bad and I recommend not listening to it.

But to end Will Wade’s introductory press conference, Imagine Dragon’s “Believer” was a good choice.

From the jump, Will Wade began the process of changing the LSU program. Wade and LSU made the decision to hold his introductory press conference in the LSU Student Union instead of the usual spot at the Athletic Administration building or the PMAC at noon. The press conference was open to the students, which created an unique environment.

This was important because in the final year of the Johnny Jones experience, apathy had taken over everywhere, especially with the student section. Everything had gone stale and boring when not just the outcome was nearly predetermined, but the course of events that would lead to the result were also predetermined. That lead to not just a decline in attendance, but a sharp decline in student attendance.

Having the press conference in the union during lunch threw LSU students back into the mix. It was everything press conferences usually aren’t: bold, brash and expressive.

And then Will Wade was formally introduced.

Between DD Breaux, Ed Orgeron, and Will Wade, LSU has certainly developed a type of head coaches they prefer.

Will Wade is the love child between Orgeron and Nick Saban, raised by analytics and smart thinking. Wade is just as fiery as O, but in a less emotional way and more in a “here is why we can do this” type of way. Above all else, he is firm and convincing while still preaching the perfection of the small things that is eerily reminiscent of Nick Saban’s “Process” mantra.

A lot of what Wade said was just saying all the right things the fans want to hear. He said it convincingly in a way that makes you believe it, but on paper the words mean nothing. Things like promising “consistent NCAA Tournament appearances” and “leaving everything on the court”, “we will improve on defense”, things of the sort.

But then there are things that made you believe, really believe that this was the first step forward in a new direction for LSU basketball.

Things like preaching aggressiveness, especially on offense and then saying “I don’t accept ‘this is a basketball norm’”. Considering what LSU fans just sat through, that sounds a welcome change, but if we stop and think about it, that’s more than a change of offensive philosophy. It’s a change into a culture that had become stale and is an import of independent thinking about the way the game is played.

Things like saying he’s always believed that LSU is a sleeping giant in terms of basketball, because that’s been a running thought for LSU fans since the Dale Brown era. He didn’t have to say that. He could have said “I’m happy to be here” or “I can’t wait to start building here” if he was to be more frank. He called LSU a “sleeping giant”. Perhaps I’m looking too far into it, but if he truly believes that LSU is a sleeping giant, then he is the perfect person to wake it up, as “soft spoken” isn’t really his gig.

Will Wade’s introductory press conference was different for LSU because it was ambitious. The fact that ambitious is different for LSU is why Wade was hired and he was the perfect man for the job.

The man who called Dale Brown’s LSU teams mere “pockets of success” on his first day on the job is the kind of man with a vision large enough for LSU.

When talking about his pitch to recruits, Wade called himself a “dream maker”. He’s painted of LSU basketball a height it’s never been before. Now it’s time for him to make the dream a reality.