No. 10 LSU is holding Javonte Smart out of Saturday’s season finale against Vanderbilt because the freshman guard was mentioned in a wiretapped phone call about recruiting that resulted in coach Will Wade’s suspension.
LSU also has decided to rest starting forward Naz Reid after No. 5 Tennessee’s loss earlier in the day to Auburn assured LSU the No. 1 seed in next week’s SEC Tournament and at least a share of the conference’s regular-season title.
LSU senior associate athletics director Robert Munson says the decision not to play Smart was “done only in an abundance of caution, and as a result of the lack of clarity provided regarding media reports and reported wiretaps” involving Wade.
Munson’s statement says the decision “does not suggest, in any way, wrongdoing or knowledge of wrongdoing on Javonte’s part or his family.” Munson also says Smart and his family “have been fully cooperative and open” with university officials.
LSU suspended Wade on Friday, a day after Yahoo published excerpts of Wade’s phone conversations with a person convicted last year of funneling money to the families of basketball recruits.
Smart is a former Louisiana player of the year. This season he has averaged 11.5 points and scored 29 in a victory over Tennessee.
Reid, also a freshman, is averaging 13.3 points and 6.9 rebounds. The decision to rest him comes after he took a hard elbow to the head which drew blood during Wednesday night’s victory at Florida. LSU spokesman Kent Lowe said Reid does not have a concussion and is a precautionary scratch.