Written by: Adam Zagoria (Zagsblog.com)
St. Benedict’s Prep will be without its best player going forward after head coach Dan Hurley kicked 6-foot-8 Texas-bound junior Tristan Thompson off the team permanently Tuesday.
“He was kicked off the team for public insubordination,” Hurley said Wednesday by phone.
Thompson is the No. 2-ranked power forward and No. 5 overall player in the Class of 2010, according to Rivals.com. He is averaging 19.1 points and 9.6 rebounds.
Asked if Thompson would leave the school, Hurley said: “That’s not my concern. That’s the concern of his family and that’s the concern of the headmaster. I just know that I’m not going to be his coach and that’s about it.”
“That’s the state of basketball,” Hurley added. “The kid came here as an unknown kid with potential and as an intelligent kid who is very likable. The problem in our sport now is that as kids get better and as their ranking rises, the people around
these kids ruin them.”
Hurley and Thompson apparently had an incident during Tuesday’s game against Passaic Tech at St. Benedict’s, won by the Gray Bees.
“When you’re told to do something on the court, there’s an expectation that you will accept the coaching,” Hurley said. “He did not a take a swing at a coach or at a player, but when you’re told to do something on the court for our team, you take the coaching and you do it. You don’t have a response.”
The Gray Bees started the year 19-0 before losing back-to-back games to St. Patrick and Mater Dei. Now ranked No. 8 in the RivalsHigh 100 and the USA Today Super 25, their next game is Saturday at 4:30 against Mountain State (West Va.) Academy in the Primetime Shootout in Trenton.
Thompson committed to Texas last year , and his St. Ben’s teammate Myck Kabongo recently followed suit. If Thompson leaves the school, it is possible Kabongo would follow him, although that remains unclear at this point.
Ro Russell , Thompson’s AAU coach with Grassroots Canada, previously said Thompson could be the best player ever to come out of Canada.
“He could be the best ever to come out of Canada because at such a young age he’s been at such a high level in terms of his competitiveness and his versatility,” Russell said. “To be at St. Benedict’s and get that exposure, he’s doing everything he needs to be the best player he can be.”