The Washington Times - April 1, 2011, 11:55PM

HOUSTON — One overlooked aspect of Jamie Skeen’s development this season is Virginia Commonwealth University assistant Will Wade.

Only four years separate the pair. Skeen describes Wade as his “academic coach.”

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“He stays on me a lot,” said Skeen, who transferred from Wake Forest after an academic issue. “When I graduate, I’m going to try and find the best way to repay him.”

When coach Shaka Smart arrived at VCU two years ago, he asked Wade to keep an eye on Skeen. They grab dinner and Skeen frequently swings by Wade’s office to talk or watch games on television. And Wade is there if something goes wrong. Skeen texts him “code red” in those moments.

“We’ve become extremely close. He trusts me and I trust him,” Wade said. “We’ve built it over time. He knows I’m looking out for him and have his best interests at heart. He’s a great kid who doesn’t need a whole lot of mentoring most of the time.”