Dominique Ferguson is the best exemplar of the highs and lows of Isiah Thomas’ tenure as head coach at Florida International University, which ended just hours ago. The 6’9″ forward was Zeke’s highest-rated recruit, ranked by Scout.com as the nation’s 16th-best power forward prospect when he signed with the Golden Panthers in 2009. DraftExpress displayed guarded optimism at the time, stating “Ferguson should be able to dominate the Sun Belt conference with his superior physical gifts, but he needs to be coached up significantly before he can be discussed further.”
And there you have it. Ferguson’s gifts warranted attention, but he was raw and needed effective coaching. After two seasons at FIU under Thomas, did he get it? Ferguson never broke the 10 points per game barrier in either of his two seasons under Isiah, never shot very well, and didn’t have nearly the defensive impact he should have in a league filled with less talented players. Nonetheless, the sophomore took to Twitter to defend his coach, making the following statements under his @3domferg handle:
“Came here to play for one of the most genuine people I’ve ever met and now these people let him go……I hope I can get my release now.”
“As much stuff as he’s done for this school for FIU to do him like this, he’s done much more things that have changed our lives us as men.”
“That’s wild, cannot wait to get out of this place……I am not coming back.”
Harsh statements, made in a public forum. If Ferguson makes good on his threats, he will no doubt find a home somewhere else.
Of course, Ferguson is young, and his anger may wane. His Twitter timeline devoted just a handful of posts to the Thomas firing, and young Dominique was soon back in goofy spirits. By 9pm ET, he had returned to more quotidian efforts:
“Wha time does 5 guys close”
and the immortal
“Hate that feeling when you think there’s a booger in your nose but you don’t really know”
Ah, youth. So resilient.