BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - LSU Men’s Head Basketball Coach Will Wade and LSU Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Joe Alleva held an emotional news conference Friday morning on the death of junior basketball player Wayde Sims.
Sims was fatally shot around 12:25 a.m. on September 28 following an altercation in the 600 block of Harding Boulevard, near the campus of Southern University.
“Early this morning we got the call we never want to get,” Wade said. “We rushed down to the hospital and they let us know the news.”
Wade and his staff informed the entire team of Sims' death around 6:30 a.m. during the team’s previously scheduled workout.
Wade described Sims as a player who was a “jokester” and “prankster” but always there for his teammates. The coach explained Sims was one of the few players on the team who had a car and would give teammates rides to practice or to the grocery store.
The coach told reporters the team was devastated by the loss of Sims and the coaching staff would be working to support Sims family and the rest of the team.
Wade said the silver lining in the tragedy was rapid response from LSU and the Baton Rouge community.
Having grown up in Baton Rouge Sims was the epitome of a hometown player with a deep love for the city and LSU athletics. Sims' father, Wayne Sims, played basketball for LSU in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Wade said that Sims had a tattoo of a tiger, LSU’s mascot, and a tattoo of "225,″ Baton Rouge’s area code.
“He embraced us from the start and we embraced him. He was growing and growing and growing," Wade said.
He also said the fact Sims was a positive player “on an upward trajectory," makes the death so tough.
LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva, who also spoke to the media, called Sims' death a tragedy.
Alleva said LSU athletics would everything it possibly could to help Sims' family and would provide counseling for his teammates.
“I told the team this morning this is a day they will he never forget. They will never forget this day. It will live with them forever and we are going to deal with it the best way we can as we go forward,” Alleva said.
The LSU director said the university and the athletic program would continue to develop a strong bond despite Sims' untimely death.