After a long Tuesday evening of disappointing basketball and hockey, I slept in until around noon Wednesday. The first person I saw after waking up was my roommate Charlie.
“Did you see about Thomas de Thaey?” he asked.
I shook my head, and he told me that De Thaey, a former N.C. State forward, had blasted men’s basketball head coach Mark Gottfried on Twitter. He continued to tell me De Thaey’s tweet had been retweeted by freshman forward T.J. Warren and favorited by the father of freshman guard Tyler Lewis.
Immediately, this had my attention. I sat down on Twitter and read the tweet from De Thaey’s account that still dons “GOPACK” in its tag.
“That’s what happens when you’re a great recruiter, but a terrible coach!”
I thought perhaps this was a misunderstanding and De Thaey was talking about another coach. Perhaps he was referring to Kentucky head coach John Calipari, who had lost to Alabama the night before.
Then I read the tweets that followed and it became clear that he was talking about his own former coach.
I began pondering why he would do such a thing, and why Warren and Lewis’ father would support such thoughts.
In my mind, the answer became clear.
De Thaey quit the team earlier this season to return to Belgium, reportedly to be close to his ailing father and pursue a career in professional basketball.
The same Thomas de Thaey who only played 27 minutes this season in the Wolfpack’s first five games. The same Thomas de Thaey who saw action in just 19 games as a freshman, averaging 5.6 minutes per game.
Now, admittedly, it is highly speculative, but it is peculiar that he would leave State at the drop of a dime and, when the chance came, publicly criticize Gottfried.
If I had to guess, there was probably something going on behind the scenes between the two prior to his departure, which many had inferred from his Twitter account in the days before announcing he would leave.
Given that bit of speculation, it would seem De Thaey is merely taking an opportunity to blast a head coach who wouldn’t give him the playing time he thought he deserved.
He wants Gottfried and the rest of the world to believe that the Pack’s problems are centralized on the fact that he is no longer on the bench because coach wouldn’t put him in the game.
I could be wrong, but it makes sense when you look at the remaining circumstances.
Warren leads the ACC in field goal percentage by a substantial margin (64.6 percent, teammate senior forward is second at 58.6 percent), averages 12.2 points per game and is second on the team in points per 40 minutes.
Additionally, Warren played 25 minutes against Clemson and Wake Forest and averaged 17.5 points over the two games.
If my conjecture is correct, Warren simply acted rashly by retweeting De Thaey for the same reason the tweet was created — Warren wants more playing time. Only this time, Warren probably deserves it, based on his performance this season.
It should be noted, however, that Warren later retracted the tweet and stated that the retweet was not a “jab at my head coach.”
The same can be said for Lewis’ father. Lewis has seen action in 18 games, averaging 9.8 points per contest. He has stellar vision and immense potential, but has had a difficult time adjusting to ACC players that are, to put it simply, bigger than he is. Of course, what father doesn’t want to see his son get more playing time?
It appears to me De Thaey is just a sour apple looking to get a little piece of revenge on his old coach. Warren and Lewis’ father acted rashly, but so do a lot of frustrated individuals. I am no exception to the rule.
At the end of the day, this story will subside and cooler heads will prevail.
I’m willing to bet that by the end of the season, this story will all be forgotten.
And so will Thomas de Thaey.