BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Family and friends said their final good-byes to LSU basketball player Wayde Sims Saturday afternoon. His funeral was held at the Healing Place Church in Baton Rouge.
He was remembered by many as a dedicated student.
“He helped other students. He tried his best and he was always respectful,” said his 7th-grade teacher, Barbara Benton. “This could be the description of an average student, but Wayde wasn’t average.”
Benton said he had something special that set him apart. “The extra gift that Wayde brought to the classroom was personality, and he brought plenty of that.”
He was remembered as a talented basketball player.
“He was very charismatic. He had that ‘it factor’. We saw it early on,” said Joe Spencer, U-High basketball coach.
“Not one time has he missed a practice, not one time. Not one time did he miss a workout,” said LSU basketball head coach, Will Wade.
Friends say the 20-year-old carried his sense of compassion and humor to the court—later leading his high school team to three state championships.
“Wayde was a fantastic basketball player, but he was so much more than that,” Spencer said. “Wayde was an absolute giant at U-High.”
Just three years ago, his commitment to LSU meant bigger and better things.
During the funeral, former LSU basketball coach Johnny Jones said the young basketball star was adamant about wearing number 44. It was the same number his father, Wayne Sims, wore as an LSU standout.
“I can tell you, he was always ten toes in,” Jones said. “You didn’t have to worry about him. He was ten toes in and he was going to be there, and he was going to give you his best.”
Most of all, friends say Sims enjoyed life and he spread that joy with everyone he met.
Coach Wade said since he’s been leading the Tigers for the last a year and a half, he was able to consider Sims dependable and consistent, “Everything he did to make an impact was just him being himself on a daily basis. That’s what’s so special about what he did.”
While his time here was brief, many find closure knowing they will see him again.
“Simply put, Wayde Sims was a good kid and heaven is a brighter place with the addition of his smile,” said Benton.
“You have wings so fly, Wayde. Fly, fly high and don’t look back,” said his Sunday school teacher.
Coach Wade says the basketball team plans to pay tribute Sims during their weightlifting sessions. “At the end of every weight workout, we do something in 44s, won’t don’t 42s, 43s, we do 44 to make sure that we honor him.”
“So much passion, so much energy, so much purpose, and God squeezed it into 20 years,” says Pastor Mike Haman of Healing Place Church. “He lived more in 20 years than most people live in a lifetime.”