"It's not about shying away from competition, my son has never done that," he said. "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."
Let's tally everything that's wrong with those comments.
1.) "Mike Gottfried"
2.) NC State never had a six-game losing streak.
3.) Harris did not hold Thomas Robinson scoreless for seven minutes. (via @PackBacker81)
4.) Harris played well in practice but didn't play in games because he wasn't recruited by Gottfried, and Gott favored his own players. Gottfried and his staff were responsible for recruiting exactly two players on last year's team: Alex Johnson and Thomas de Thaey. If Gottfried had been hellbent on playing his own guys over everybody else, it would have been like that scene from Hoosiers times a million.
Ref: "Let's go, coach."
Gott: "My team is on the floor."
[Cut to: Alex Johnson and Thomas de Thaey, who resolve to stop crying and prepare for the opening tip.]
[Two hours later.]
Gary Hahn: "The horn sounds and that will do it. State drops a tough one to Quinnipiac, 285 to 14. Check that, 287-14. Bonusphere."
Tony Haynes: [chugs whiskey]
Look, I'm sure Tyler felt that he had earned more playing time in games with his performance in practice, and I'm sure that's exactly what he told his dad. It's easy enough to imagine a kid getting frustrated and feeling slighted. But you weren't there every day, pops. Maybe take it easy on the accusations.
Harris played in each of the team's first seven games, with an average of about 14 minutes per game and a season-high 28 minutes against Vanderbilt. He played 96 minutes total over that span and then just 36 the rest of the way. Looks like he got a pretty fair shake from a new coaching staff that wanted to feel out what he might be able to add to the rotation. Even after Leslie returned from suspension, Harris was given a few starts. So he had his shot during the tinkering phase of the season. Far more likely than conspiracy is the simple conclusion that after those first seven games or so, the coaches had seen enough to conclude that Harris wasn't good enough to be a regular in the rotation.