Rutgers cyber-fans lose it after Thomas chooses Duke
Posted: Wednesday May 10, 2006 4:32PM; Updated: Thursday May 11, 2006 11:34AM
New Jersey star Lance Thomas broke Rutgers fans' hearts by spurning the Scarlet Knights and signing with Duke.
Michael J. LeBrecht II/1Deuce3 Photography
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Lance Thomas is a "bum."
He's "gutless" (etown1000), he's an "attention whore" (joshf8231) and he's apparently missing a uniquely male part of his anatomy (Sleepi...sAwake).
Good thing Rutgers didn't get stuck with him.
Thomas is a 6-foot-8, 17-year-old senior at St. Benedict's in Newark, N.J. He was a McDonald's All-American and one of the top dozen or so senior prospects in the country. He was the kid who made Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski hold a scholarship open longer than he ever had.
Thomas had turned in his prep uniform and was agonizing over what would replace it -- a jersey from Duke or one that said "Rutgers." Coach K patiently waited, Rutgers fans on Rutgersfan.com pledged their undying adoration, and ... Thomas chose Duke.
So, Rubball2 hopes he "lives his life of misery as a garbage man." MCohen05 is raising a glass "to Lance Thomas flopping and working at McDonald's," while RutgersMo is praying "LT's girlfriend cheats." It's not all nasty words -- RUDrummer822 plans on giving Thomas more than a mere wish. He wants to know "what size skirt does Lance wear?"
Silly as they may be, college message boards are officially part of our culture now. At Rutgersfan.com, like at any of the hundreds of fan sites, posters cloaked under the protection of anonymity share their passions on message boards. They parry over their prospects, debate their coaches' decisions and, now, hurt the very schools they're supposedly fans of.
"Kids read that stuff," said Danny Hurley, Thomas' coach at St. Benedict's. "If they haven't, coaches have it sent to them."
Of course they do.
Negative recruiting has moved well past the whispered gossip that Hurley's famous dad, Bob -- the coach featured in Adrian Wojnarowski's book The MIracle of St. Anthony -- used to avoid and on to a full-blown common practice that Danny's players can't ignore. The recruiting game is fierce, and with the hyper Fred Hill and the even more hyper Bobby Gonzalez taking over the programs at Rutgers and Seton Hall, respectively, recruiting in New Jersey just amped up about eight notches.
Sure, these name-calling nitwits may only be a teeny fraction of Rutgers fans. They're probably only a teeny fraction of Rutgersfan fans. But they're still the ones holding Rutgers' future hostage, superceding the power of real Rutgers fans.
Regular Rutgers fans are the ones who papered the Rutgers Athletic Center with signs reading "Lance=Dance" and "Stay in Jersey, Lance" and "Knights need their Lance" back in January, when No. 9 Pitt came to town and Thomas and his high school teammate Eugene Harvey were in the stands.
Real Rutgers fans are the ones who chanted, "We want Lance" every time he was spotted on campus and the ones who had Lance thinking his state university was so darn intriguing.