The old adage goes: it’s not the years of your life that count, it’s the life in those years. That’s true on so many levels, but for somebody’s life to be taken without warning makes that statement seem so unfair. That’s the case with the news coming out of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
LSU basketball player Wayde Sims, who was entering his junior season at the university, was shot early Friday morning outside of a Subway restaurant near the Southern University campus, just outside of downtown Baton Rouge. Despite being rushed to a local hospital, Sims succumbed to his gunshot wound and later died. He was 20-years-old.
According to the Baton Rouge police department, Sims was shot around 12:25 a.m. Friday morning. His death, which is still being investigated, has been classified as a homicide.
Sims death extends far beyond the basketball court and has shaken the LSU community.
“We are all devastated, “said LSU coach Will Wade in a statement. “We need your prayers for Wayde, for his family, for all of us. We are heartbroken.”
Sims was entering his third season as a forward for the LSU Tigers after averaging 5.6 points and 2.9 rebounds across 32 games and 10 starts last season, and he started five games as a freshman.
Wayne Sims, Wayde’s father, also played basketball at LSU from 1987-91 under head coach Dale Brown.
“We are stunned and shaken. To say we are grief-stricken is an understatement. Wayde was a beloved member of the LSU community whose leadership was treasured by his coach and his teammates. I knew him personally and liked him tremendously. The void left by his passing will be immense, and we ask that you keep his family in your prayers.” — LSU President F. King Alexander
The Baton Rouge native was named the 2014-15 Louisiana Gatorade Player of the Year in high school after leading his team to three-straight Louisiana state titles at University High School.
“Wayde Sims’ loss is simply unbelievable to us right now,” said Joe Alleva in the statement, LSU’s Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics. “There are no words that can express our sorrow for his parents and family. He was such a lovable young man who was full of joy. We are circling around his teammates and friends who need all the love and support we can give them. We are praying for his family, for his parents. God bless Wayde Sims.”
Counselors have been made available for any students or faculty needing them.
While details are still unavailable pending an investigation, there’s no doubt that his loss is going to impact the Tigers’ team far beyond just a basketball season. The hashtag #Forever44, in remembrance of Wade’s jersey number, has made waves across social media about the impact Wayde Sims made as a young man off the court.
The Baton Rouge police investigation will be sure to unveil details and hopefully give those looking for it the closure they need, and the answers Sims’ family deserves.
Rest in peace, Wayde Sims.