Wayde’s father played college basketball at LSU so it comes as no surprise that Wayde carried a basketball in hand as soon as he could walk. He began playing organized ball when he was five years old. His passion for playing continued into his formative school years. He went on to play on his school’s, University High, basketball team.
Wayde was a starter on the high school’s varsity basketball team as an eighth grader. Although he was playing against athletes much older and bigger than him, he accomplished feats that surprised many. Often times, the audience could be heard gasping and stating “he’s in eighth grade!”
While in high school, Wayde earned numerous awards including Gatorade Player of the Year, All State, Most Valuable Player and many more, leading his team to three state championships and earning a scholarship to Louisiana State University.
While at LSU, Wayde was the epitome of an all around player. He was known for his sweet shot and aggressive play. His coaches praised him for his growth between his sophomore and junior years. 2018-2019 was set up to be Wayde’s breakout year before he was taken from us. Wayde’s spirit continues to inspire and motivate his teammates in his absence just as it did during his presence. While not here with us physically, Wayde is still the heart of the 2018-2019 LSU Basketball Tigers.
Being an only child, Wayde constantly expressed his desire to own a dog. After years of asking, Wayde’s godmother gifted him with Buddha upon his graduation from high school. Wayde and his mom, Fay, drove to Gulfport, MS to pick up Buddha when Buddha was eight weeks old. It was love at first sight for both Wayde and Buddha! Fay tried to hold Buddha in the car on the drive home, but he preferred to only be held by Wayde. It was though he sensed Wayde was going to be his master instead of Fay.
As time passed, a special bond between Buddha and Wayde was formed. Wayde had no idea Buddha would become such an important source of comfort and support for him as he adjusted to the demands of college life as a Division I student athlete. The two of them became inseparable! When Wayde traveled for road games, he often left Buddha in the care of his parents, Fay and Wayne. Wayde would FaceTime his parents often so that he could talk to “his son.” When he couldn’t talk to Buddha, he would send frequent text messages asking “how’s my son doing?”
Due to housing restrictions, Wayde was often challenged with the potential of being separated from Buddha. This became a huge source of anxiety for him. When Fay mentioned the possibility of Wayde and Buddha parting, Wayde told her that was not an option. He wasn’t embarrassed to let her and LSU administrators know that Buddha provided a form of emotional support for him. With assistance from and the support of counselors at LSU, Wayde was able to register Buddha as his emotional support dog, allowing Buddha to live on campus with him.
Family was extremely important to Wayde! Wayde was both a momma and a daddy’s boy. From the many selfies and videos of Wayde and Fay laughing, hugging, playing pranks on each other and just hanging out, it is evident Fay was blessed with not only a son, but a best friend all rolled up into one. Wayde and Wayne also shared a very special relationship. The two of them were often seen in photos fishing, crabbing, boating or just posing for photos upon Fay’s request. Wayde followed in Wayne’s footsteps with his decision to not only play basketball at LSU, but also when he chose to wear the number 44 in honor of Wayne, who had worn that number when he played on LSU’s basketball team.
Wayde was known for his bright smile that could light up any room, his positive attitude and his desire to bring joy to people of all ages. Children seemed to gravitate to him because of his welcoming spirit. He often stopped to say “hello,” sign autographs, or give a high five to the innocent little eyes looking up to him. Wayde never met a stranger!
Wayde was a country boy at heart who enjoyed spending time fishing, crabbing, boating, riding ATVs, mowing the lawn ("cutting grass” as we say in Louisiana aka Da Boot) or simply enjoying the sounds of nature while sitting outside with his family. He also possessed a love for music and dancing and was often seen singing and dancing in videos. Wayde’s favorite food was wings, specifically his dad’s honey mustard wings.
To ensure Wayde’s accolades off the court live on, Fay and Wayne have chosen to live by:
The 4 Ws...WHAT WOULD WAYDE WANT?
The 3 Fs...FAMILY, FRIENDS & FANS
SMILE, it’s what Wayde would want!
Proverbs - A lazy man don’t eat!
WE MISS YOU, WAYDE! #FOREVER44