LSU’s Javonte Smart to Return for SEC Tournament Amid Inquiry Into FBI Wiretap Allegations

Smart was held out of the Tigers’ regular season finale last weekend.

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LSU’s Javonte Smart has been cleared to play in the Tigers’ SEC tournament clash with Florida after “fully cooperating” with the joint inquiry with LSU and the NCAA, the university announced Friday.

Smart was held out of LSU’s regular season finale against Vanderbilt after reports surfaced last week in a Yahoo! Sports story that the Tigers head coach Will Wade was caught on wiretap making an offer to former Adidas consultant Christian Dawkins for the freshman guard’s commitment.

The University said in their statement that the decision to keep Smart out of last Saturday’s contest was made “out of an abundance of caution in cooperation with the NCAA.” 

“Though the inquiry is not closed, after multiple additional interviews, there has been no wrongdoing identified to date,” LSU’s statement said. “As a result, and because of his full cooperation and transparency in this matter, Smart has been cleared by university officials for play on Friday.”

The Baton Rogue native was reportedly at the center of a 2017 phone call that included Wade talking about an “offer” to a player and his family. Wade only referred to the situation as “this Smart thing,” during his conversation with Dawkins but suggested that a player’s verbal commitment had been delayed because they weren’t offered a big “enough piece of the pie in the deal.”

Smart is averaging 11.5 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game for his hometown team on 30.3 minutes of playing time. He’s made 17 starts in 30 appearances this season for LSU.

Wade remains suspended by the school indefinitely going into the conference tournament. He has articulated his desire to return to work despite declining to cooperate in an internal investigation into his conversations with Dawkins.

Assistant coach Tony Beford is serving as the Tigers’ interim coach.

LSU clinched the regular season title and the tournament’s No. 1 seed with a win over Vanderbilt last week. The Tigers (26–5) will tip off against No. 8 Florida at 1 p.m. ET in Nashville.

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