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Heel Tough Blog: Dontrez Styles Says NIT Decision Was By Coaches; Still Deciding on His Future

Grant Halverson- Getty Images

Social media has been ablaze since Sunday’s decision by the Tar Heel basketball program to sit out the NIT tournament after not receiving a bid to the NCAA Tournament. Many have been criticizing the decision, saying that it doesn’t live up to the standard set by Dean Smith and continued by Roy Williams. Following the decision on Sunday night, Inside Carolina reported that it came as the result of an anonymous team vote. This morning, however, in his weekly hit with ‘The Bryan Hanks Show’ on WRNS 960 AM in Kinston, Tar Heel forward Dontrez Styles painted a little bit of a different.


In his “Tuesday’s with ‘Trez” segment, he was asked by host Bryan Hanks if the team meeting an hour after the postgame show was where the team voted to not go to the NIT. “Yes, sir. Coach told us that he was not going to accept the bid and that the season was over and that he was going to start getting ready for next year and preparing so this didn’t happen again.” Hanks would follow up by asking whether it was a team vote or a coaches decision to not play. “It was a coaches decision,” he simply stated.


Styles shed some light, as well, on what the mindset was around the team after this decision. “It was tough for all of us, because of the grads and super seniors, the ones who plan on not being here next year, going to the draft. It was tough for everybody.” He was also asked whether or not he would have wanted to go to the NIT. “I think I would’ve just to have the opportunity to play and showcase a little bit more of my talent. The NIT is not the Carolina standard, but there are some great team’s in there. It would have been some great competition for me to showcase my game against. I would have played. I’m not going to turn down playing basketball.”


If this is in fact the case and Hubert Davis and his staff were the ones that turned down the NIT bid without asking the players, there is going to be a lot of explaining to do. Not playing in the tournament made sense for a lot of different reasons, but the main one was based on the notion that the player didn’t want to play. If the majority of the players thought otherwise, this means there is clearly a major rift between the staff and the players. That division would be tough to repair and could mean a mass exodus could be coming, especially from the younger players who probably saw this as an opportunity, like Styles did, to get a little more playing time.


One of those could be Styles himself. Hanks asked him about his future with the team and he said that he is currently away in Orlando thinking things over and talking it over with his family. He said that this season was a major disappointment teamwise and individually, with things not going as planned on either end. He said that he just has to move forward from this year and that he should have a decision made by “next week at the latest”.


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