New LSU head coach Will Wade has wasted no time proving his recruiting prowess to the local fan base and those efforts were punctuated on Monday when Tremont Waters signed on to become the final member of his 2017 class.
At 5-foot-10 with a fairly pedestrian frame, Waters may not look the part of a highly coveted national prospect, but he’s seen recruitment from the very highest levels of college basketball within the last year.
A New England native, Waters’ high school career played out inversely to most from that region. While most begin in the local high school ranks before often-times transferring in to a prep school, Waters went straight to the South Kent School as a freshmen and quickly proved that he was capable of playing with the best prep basketball players in the country.
He stayed at South Kent for three years, starring under current Old Dominion head coach Kelvin Jefferson, and scored over 1600 points. After his final summer on the AAU circuit, in which he starred with Expressions Elite, he made the decision to leave South Kent and attend Notre Dame High School.
His recruitment, or what turned out to be the first round of it, played out last fall as he visited Duke, Kentucky, Kansas, Indiana, and Georgetown before committing to the Hoyas.
It wasn’t until after his high school season came to an end that he announced he was requesting a release from the National Letter of Intent he signed with Georgetown. Less than a week later, John Thompson III was let go as the program’s head coach.
Waters’ recruitment looked much different the second time around. New Georgetown head coach Patrick Ewing made an effort but the rest of the schools from his initial list were nowhere to be found.
LSU has locked up one of the best point guards in the national class
Instead it was reportedly schools like UConn and Creighton that were rumored to be in pursuit. The reality though is that Western Kentucky had quietly emerged as a front-runner and appeared on the verge of landing a steal until Wade and LSU swept in during the final weeks of the process. Western Kentucky ended up signing a local product in Jake Ohmer and so by the time Waters arrived on LSU’s campus for his official visit, the Tigers were the heavy favorite.
With Waters’ recruitment now a thing of the past, LSU has locked up one of the best point guards in the national class. He’s exceptionally skilled and perhaps the second most skilled guard in the class behind incoming Oklahoma guard Trae Young.
His instincts though are just as impressive as his skill set. While he may be undersized, he has a unique understanding of how to thrive at his size. His understanding of the nuances and subtleties of his position include an advanced feel for playing off a ball screen, creating space for his pull-up, and using his dribble to bait defenders into doing exactly what he wants.
What does he still need to work on? First and foremost is the defensive end. He’s the type of guard who excels at taking the ball way away from less skilled guards but can have a harder time sitting down and consistently guarding.
Lastly, for all of his individual accolades, Waters still has yet to prove he can lead a team that wins at the highest level. He never won his league while at South Kent, didn’t take a championship with Expressions (or with the PSA Cardinals or New England Playaz before that), and while all of that was understandable, what was most surprising is that his Notre Dame team was upset in the CIAC state tournament this year.
Put it all together and you have a player who has always been able to raise his game to prove his doubters wrong. Doing that at LSU will mean more than putting up impressive individual statistics, it will be about taking the reins of the program and helping Wade build a winner in Baton Rouge.