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Mourning Wayde Sims

NCAA Basketball: SEC Tournament-Mississippi State vs LSU Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

20.

That’s the number Wayde Sims will be remembered for.

It’s not anything in his stat line. It’s not his points per game, it’s not his season rebound total, it’s not even his jersey number.

It’s how old he was when he died.

Twenty.

Wayde was shot and killed in his hometown at 20 years old. The son of a Wayne, a former Dale Brown player, he was the Louisiana Gatorade Player of the Year in 2014-15 at University High on the campus of LSU. While at U-High he won three straight state championships between 2014-16. He had a “225” and a tiger tattooed on his person.

He was shot and killed at 12:25 just outside Southern’s campus, where he presumably was attending a Southern Homecoming event when an altercation broke out. He was then taken to a hospital where he succumbed to the wound.

I can’t imagine any series of events that could reasonably lead to the shooting of a 20-year old basketball player. At the press conference, athletic director Joe Alleva said, ”This is a terrible day, but we have to make it a learning experience. Our athletes are out there, and they need to be careful anywhere they go.”

The depressing thing? He’s right. Wayde Sims had a lot of living left to do. He wasn’t a superstar basketball player, but he still had two seasons to grow as a player. And even if he never played basketball after LSU, he was in line to get a sports administration degree debt free and start his career.

At the most, he was two years away from starting his career. He died at 20 year old.

It’s just depressing all around. Personally, I’m at a stage in my life where I have never loved Louisiana more and have been proud to call myself a Louisianan. Not today. Today everything that is wrong with our state has taken hold and shaken me. Senseless gun violence has once again taken another young soul from us. It’s crushing.

In the end, I hope Sims’ death means something. I hope it can open a dialogue, some dialogue about change. I hope his death does not come and pass. I hope Sims will be remembered for a long time in Baton Rouge. I hope his killer is brought to face justice.

I hope he doesn’t become just another body put in the ground before his time.

I hope for a lot of things, but until all that happens, Wayde Sims’ death remains senseless.