Tyler Harris (AP)
In reality, it doesn't sound like the decision had anything to do with Jefferson.
Harris' father told USA Today that his son is leaving NC State because the coaching staff didn't give him the playing time he earned in practice as a freshman, but the argument becomes far less cogent as it goes along.
"It's not about shying away from competition, my son has never done that," Torrell Harris told the paper. "He loves to compete. He played well in practice and wasn't rewarded. He was good enough to hold an All-American (Kansas' Thomas Robinson) scoreless for seven minutes in the Sweet 16, but when the team lost six games in a row, they never changed their rotation to play him. He wasn't recruited by Mike Gottfried, and he wanted to play his players."
There are as many errors in the final two sentences of the above quote as in an average Little League game, so let's correct a few of them here.
First, NC State's head coach is Mark Gottfried, not Mike. Second, Harris didn't hold Robinson scoreless for seven minutes. The Kansas star had a layup and a free throw and outscored Robinson 3-0 during that span. Third, NC State never lost six straight games. It had a four-game losing streak in February against North Carolina, Florida State, Duke and Clemson.
Amazingly enough, however, it's Torrell Harris' final assertion that is most preposterous. He claims Gottfried only played guys he recruited even though the first-year coach only had two such players on the roster last season: reserve forward Thomas de Thaey and reserve guard Alex Johnson
What's more, de Thaey averaged one minute per game less than the seven minutes a night Tyler Harris logged.
The bottom line is it's understandable Harris is transferring considering NC State returns starting forwards C.J. Leslie and Richard Howell and may land the promising Jefferson to be the primary backup. NC State's depth at the position will be thin if it doesn't have Harris and Jefferson opts for Duke or Kentucky, but the freshman has every right to do what he thinks is best for him.
And what's best for Harris might be asking his dad to let him handle all media inquiries from here on out. Whereas Torrell's comments to USA Today were ill-advised, Tyler could not have been classier on Twitter in revealing he was leaving.
"Thank you for everything Wolfpack it's been great, I'm going to miss being here and being with my bros," he wrote. "Thank you to the people who support me with the decision."
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