Immediately after pulling off their biggest home victory of the season, LSU players had Wayde Sims on the forefront of their thoughts.
LSU upset then-No. 5 Tennessee 82-80 in overtime on Saturday Feb. 23. Skylar Mays, Darius Days, Marlon Taylor and Emmitt Williams put up four fingers on each hand to represent Wayde, who was killed on Sept. 28 after trying to break up a fight around Southern University’s campus.
No. 13 LSU is in a three-way tie with Tennessee and Kentucky atop the SEC standings (As of Feb. 25) and they want to keep the spirit of Sims in their hearts on the hardwood as they prepare for March Madness.
“For me personally, I just want to always make sure Wayde’s always remembered, him meaning so much to me and being my best friend,” Mays said to NOLA.com. “So, in a moment like that, when we knew we had the cameras on us, I tried to make sure that I gave him a little of the shine.”
Former LSU coach Dale Brown provided voice-over on a touching pre-game video prior to the game, which was written by LSU digital media reporter Cody Worsham.
— LSU Basketball (@LSUBasketball) February 22, 2019
In the middle of the video, Brown proudly proclaims “They have five, but we’ve got six,” as the camera panned to the “Wayde 44” patches on LSU’s jerseys as well as the messages written on the players’ sneakers.
— LSU Basketball (@LSUBasketball) February 23, 2019
The LSU staff members wore pins in honor of Sims.
Sims averaged 5.6 points and 2.6 rebounds per game last season in 10 starts and 32 appearances for LSU. Sims held a major in sports administration.
The effects of Sims being a figurative sixth man have been felt all season for LSU.
Previously, Sims’ parents were recognized prior to LSU’s season opener vs. Southeastern. Before LSU’s game vs. Oklahoma State, the Cowboys donned warmups with Sims’ name and No. 44 on their backs.
In a victory vs. Louisiana Tech, Javonte Smart converted a 3-pointer that trickled around the basket three times before dropping in the net. After the victory, LSU coach Will Wade gave all the credit to Sims.
Wade and Naz Reid also believed Sims had an effect on LSU’s overtime victory at Mississippi State, as Reid drained a clutch 3-pointer that took a fortuitous roll.
“Can’t do it without Wayde,” Reid said to NOLA.com.
LSU closes the regular season vs. Texas A&M (Feb. 26), at Alabama (March 2), at Florida (March 6) and vs. Vanderbilt (March 9). The SEC tournament from Nashville, Tennessee begins on March 13. The NCAA Tournament starts on March 19.