We’re going to be tracking Isiah Thomas all season, because the new Florida International coach is going to have a miserable year, and we feel New York sports fans deserve constant updates on that misery. Friday, the Times’ Howard Beck chronicled the booing Isiah took in New Jersey, but it got worse yesterday. Yesterday Isiah started screaming at the opposing coach.
Dan Wolken, reporter for the Memphis Commercial-Appeal, first reported the news on his Twitter page: Apparently, Isiah, whose FIU team was being blown out by Tulsa, began yelling at Tulsa coach Doug Wojcik to take out his starters with ten minutes left.
In the world of the NBA, this might make some sense: These are all paid basketball players, and there’s a certain professional courtesy involved; no one wants to be embarrassed. But in college basketball, teams like FIU are on Tulsa’s schedule precisely because Tulsa pays them an appearance fee so they can stomp them and improve their team. This, frankly, is the reason Florida International has a team at all. No one told Isiah this before he came here? Nope.
Midway through the second half of Florida International’s 81-49 loss at Tulsa on Sunday, Thomas motioned toward his counterpart as if to ask when he’d take his starters out. A few minutes later, he got vocal with his request, shouting a few words in the direction of Golden Hurricane coach Doug Wojcik.
At that point, FIU (0-3) was down 63-25 with 8:59 to play after being outscored 27-5 to start the second half. “It’s a 40-minute game. If you want the truth of it, go back to the (North) Carolina game Monday night, when Carolina was pressing them with 3 minutes left,” Wojcik said, referring to FIU’s 88-72 loss at North Carolina. “I don’t press, and I don’t embarrass anybody. But it’s a 40-minute game, and I’m in this game to get better. I’ve never seen anything like that. It was very bizarre.”
Remember when we said that Isiah could only help himself at FIU, that he was starting so far down the food chain that the only thing he could do was improve the team and his own reputation? We’re not so sure about that anymore.