College basketball notebook: LSU's Wade pleads for reinstatement
Field Level Mediaon
Embattled LSU coach Will Wade claimed in a new statement Thursday that he was advised not to agree to a joint interview with the university and NCAA regarding his involvement in the federally investigated recruiting scandal.
Wade was placed on administrative leave by LSU last week. Wade has guided the Tigers (26-5, 16-2 SEC) into position for a potential No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. He wants to get back to the bench for the conference tournament.
"This morning, I advised President (F. King) Alexander, athletic director Joe Alleva and the LSU Board of Supervisors that I would like to resume my duties as head basketball coach," Wade said in a statement Thursday morning. "... When the university decided to place me on administrative leave, I accepted the decision without complaint as I knew that they wanted to reflect on the flurry of media reports. With the benefit of a week to consider the circumstances, I believe university officials should allow me to resume my duties."
LSU general counsel and vice president for legal affairs Tom Skinner responded to Wade's comments in a statement: "Coach Will Wade has yet to deny any wrongdoing to us or publicly. Absent that, the university is in a very difficult position with regard to compliance with NCAA requirements, and until Coach Wade talks to university administration about this, he remains suspended. There is a standing offer for him and his attorneys to meet with LSU officials."
--Duke star freshman forward Zion Williamson will return to the court Thursday night when the Blue Devils play in the quarterfinals of the ACC tournament against Syracuse, the school announced.
Williamson, the projected No. 1 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, has missed nearly six full games with a sprained right knee, suffered when his shoe blew out just seconds into a Feb. 20 game against North Carolina.
Duke isn't completely healthy, though. Starting center Marques Bolden will miss at least the ACC tournament due to an MCL sprain suffered in Saturday's loss to North Carolina.
--Buffalo head coach Nate Oats received a six-year contract extension, director of athletics Mark Alnutt revealed on Twitter.
The deal, which runs through the 2024 season, will pay a base salary of $612,000 with an annual salary of $837,000, Buffalo's WIVB Channel 4 reported. Oats was named Mid-American Conference coach of the year Wednesday.
Oats has guided the Bulls to a school-record 29 victories. Buffalo is one victory away from matching the most ever in a season by a MAC school set by Kent State in the 2001-02 season.