FIU players walk out of banquet to protest Isiah Thomas’ firing

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Isiah Thomas’ top recruit wasn’t happy about Florida International firing the coach. Neither are Thomas’ former players.

Team members who attended an FIU athletic banquet walked out of the event as a protest. They waited just before the season’s award winners were to be announced, too.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B5070JLfcME]

The event didn’t stop, though you can hear at least one person in the video ask “What’s going on?”

Leading scorer DeJuan Wright says the team wasn’t simply protesting Thomas’ firing, but the dismissal of the entire coaching staff. Wright called them “mentors,” according to the AP.

That was echoed by freshman guard Tanner Woziak.

“We didn’t want to disrespect the program at all or anything,” Wozniak told The Dagger. “We just wanted to show our support for Isiah Thomas. He was a great coach, a mentor and a father figure to us. He didn’t have a winning record, but you can’t build a program in three years.”

Thomas was 26-65 in three seasons and 8-21 last year. The odds of Thomas turning FIU into a hoops power were always remote, but it was slightly surprising to see the school fire him after just three seasons given the attention he’d brought to the program.

Could he coach? No. But it’ll be interesting to see if it can replace him with anyone who can OR match Thomas’ recruiting efforts.

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