Kobe King trashes Greg Gard

Late last week, Kobe King spoke about his decision to quit the Wisconsin basketball team, and he went after Greg Gard. King broke the transfer news on his Instagram page, and it appears he deleted his entire account afterward. The next day, he talked with Wisconsin basketball beat reporter Jim Polzin of the Wisconsin State Journal.

You can read the full story here.

Details were not all that specific, but King had to feel pretty miserable considering what he’s giving up. Unless he is graduating after three years of college this spring or can get a waiver, King is essentially deciding to sit out approximately 50 of about 85 games left in his college basketball career.

King’s main reason for quitting is he was upset the way Greg Gard talked with the players and treated them as his servant. King said he felt like he was being used to win games.

To anybody who has ever played major Division 1 college basketball: you are being used to win games. The coach is paid based on his ability to win games through your basketball talents. He can be the nicest guy imaginable but if he does not win, he is getting fired.

First example I can think of is Tim Miles. By all accounts, he seemed to be a pretty good dude. But Nebraska made the NCAA Tournament once in his seven seasons in Lincoln. Therefore, he was fired.

King also said there are other players on the team who are unhappy the way Gard treats them. To what extent other teammates feel that way nobody knows, but I would imagine plenty of college athletes say bad things about their head coach at some point during their playing career.

Kobe King absolutely did the right thing trying to explain his side of the story. Being labeled as a quitter, which by definition he is, had to be tough to hear. At the same time, Greg Gard needed to fire back. When one of your best players quits right in the middle of conference play and the only reason is he doesn’t like you as the man in charge, you need to defend yourself.

Greg Gard is quoted in the article with mostly coach speak saying he supports all players on and off the court, yada yada yada, but he stood up for himself and the program several times during TV and radio interviews and press conferences before and after the Badgers’ win over Michigan State.

“I know the nine guys that are coming in over the next two years are excited, can’t wait to get here…they understand what this program is all about, what it’s accomplished in the past, the traditions and the values and the expectations, and they’re exited to get here.”

“I’m proud of our guys and the guys in that locker room that really embrace and appreciate what it means to wear that Wisconsin jersey.”

“Every time you take that jersey off, one day it will be the last time you take it off. I’ll guarantee you the last time you take it off and the further you get from that moment, you’ll wish you could put it back on, so don’t take any of these opportunities and moments for granted.”

Tom Izzo reached out to Greg Gard earlier in the week and praised him after Saturday’s game.

“You know, I’m happy for Gard, I’m a coach’s coach. We got our ass kicked today by a team that played for their coach, played for their school, and played for each other.”

Several former Wisconsin players tweeted support for Gard.

King declined to go into any specific details with anything he said about Gard, and maybe he will when he meets with Wisconsin administration for an exit interview if he hasn’t done that already. I still feel like more will come out about this Kobe King situation because this is unprecedented where a guy getting plenty of minutes decides to quit midway through conference play on an NCAA Tournament team.

Until then, we ride with Greg Gard. Please unblock me, Greg.

Photo courtesy of UWBadgers.com