LSU's Tremont Waters is questionable for tonight against Aggies as Reid hopes to improve
BATON ROUGE — There is a chance star point guard Tremont Waters will return, and it is expected that Naz Reid will score more than a point when No. 13 LSU hosts Texas A&M tonight in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
Waters, who missed all of LSU's 82-80 overtime win over No. 5 Tennessee on Saturday with an illness, remained questionable for the A&M game as of Monday afternoon, though he was improving.
Tip-off between LSU (22-5, 12-2 Southeastern Conference) and Texas A&M (12-14, 5-9 SEC) is at 8 p.m. on ESPN2.
"He's certainly doing better," LSU coach Will Wade said of Waters at a press conference Monday. "He was doing better yesterday (Sunday), and he's better today (Monday). We'll get him checked out, but he is definitely progressing. Whether or not he progresses enough to where he can play Tuesday night, I'm not sure. But he's definitely progressing."
There was a chance Waters, who was not at Saturday's game, was going to watch LSU's practice Monday afternoon.
"Very well could be, yeah," Wade said. "He's got to be evaluated first. Until he gets his evaluation, I'm not sure. But we're hopeful that he'll be there."
Waters is scoring 18.8 points a game in SEC play to lead LSU.
Wade dismissed that Waters was pouting or being disciplined on Saturday, which was popular conjecture partially fueled by LSU not putting out a release stating that Waters was ill, as has been the case in the past when players were absent or not dressed out for various reasons.
During an appearance on 104.5 FM radio in Baton Rouge Monday morning, Wade was asked if there was a rift between himself and Waters, whom Wade criticized lightly after the loss to Florida on Wednesday.
"No conspiracy," Wade said on the radio show.
"That was the first I'd heard of it," Wade said at the press conference. "He's our point guard. He's our guy. He just wasn't able to go. That was just crazy talk. Hopefully, we'll have him back sooner, rather than later."
Reid, a freshman forward who is second on the team in scoring with 14.1 points in SEC games, was 0-for-9 with a free throw on Saturday.
"It was just one of those days," Wade said. "He'll respond the right way. He hasn't had many of those days in his career, and I don't think we'll see another one in his career here at LSU. I think it was just really an anomaly, and I think he'll be fine moving forward."
Freshman Javonte Smart is expected to start at point guard in place of Waters again. Smart, who is averaging 10.9 points a game, scored a career-high 29 in his first SEC start with five assists and three steals in the win over Tennessee. He hit 9-of-10 free throws, including the last two with 0.6 seconds remaining.
"I think it was huge," Wade said. "It was a big boost for him. He's full of confidence now — definitely not lacking. I think it was naturally just a next step for him."
LSU is tied for first in the SEC with No. 4 Kentucky (23-4) and No. 7 Tennessee (24-3) at 12-2 with four games to play.
"They know what's out there," Wade said. "I don't have to say a lot. Our guys aren't dumb. It's just game by game right now."
LSU plays at Alabama (16-11, 7-7 SEC) at 11 a.m. Saturday on ESPN before another road game at Florida (16-11, 8-6) on March 6 and the season finale at home against last place Vanderbilt (9-18, 0-14) on March 9.