On Thursday afternoon, Chad Gray sat across from his coach, who told him his career at South Carolina was over. Gray did not try to persuade Darrin Horn to change his decision.
Gray’s mind was in too much of a daze to do so.
“When he said I was dismissed, I really didn’t hear anything else,” he said Friday, a day after the Kingstree native was kicked off the team for what a press release called “a repeated violation of team rules.”
That wording upset Gray, who didn’t deny that he failed to reach some conditions that Horn gave him about a month ago — although Gray said he had “good excuses.” Gray also acknowledged that Horn, who was hired in April, had warned him that failing to meet the standards could result in his dismissal.
But Gray said the causes of his dismissal were “minor things” and felt Horn exaggerated the situation.
“I think I was more mad for the way it went out, (about) me leaving the basketball team. My family had to read that stuff,” said Gray, a 6-foot-7 sophomore forward. “I’m not happy with the way it went out, numerous violations and stuff like that. It was just minor stuff.”
Horn wasn’t specific in his announcement Thursday. He couldn’t be reached for comment Friday.
Gray cited one example: He had two meetings scheduled at 9:45 and 10 a.m. He went to the first one, and couldn’t notify them of missing the second one because “that was during the time that I didn’t have a phone.”
That was also a reason for not promptly returning phone calls, which the player acknowledged was another condition he supposedly didn’t meet.
“They’re making it sound too serious,” said Gray, who remains in summer school until the end of the month.
Gray leaves after an unfulfilled career at South Carolina. He joined the team halfway through his freshman season, after first being denied entry because the school was worried he had attended a so-called diploma mill in Florida.
Once he joined the team, Gray suffered a turf toe injury and played sparingly. He was buried on the bench this past season, playing in 19 of 32 games and averaging 2.2 points and 1.4 rebounds.
Gray said he thought about transferring last summer. Then when Horn was hired, he thought about getting a fresh start, only to think about it again recently.
“It’s tough, but I think it would’ve been a better move for me anyway,” Gray said.
He might not go very far away.
“I’m trying to stay around the state,” Gray said. “Probably one of the smaller schools, not Clemson. I just love the Gamecocks.”
Reach Emerson at (803) 771-8676.