D.J. Gardner’s career at Mississippi State was short and far from sweet.
Gardner, a 6-foot-7 shooting guard from Okolona, was dismissed from the team on Friday after posting several Twitter messages critical of the MSU coaching staff Thursday night.
Coach Rick Stansbury, who told the Journal he was aware of the tweets, did not mention them in a press release announcing the dismissal. He only said Gardner was gone “for repeated actions detrimental to the team.”
The first tweet Gardner posted read, “These b****** tried to f*** me over. That’s y I redshirted. But I wish my homies a great a** season. I don’t even know y I’m still here.”
Gardner was referring to comments made by Stansbury on Thursday, when he said he was granting Gardner’s request to be redshirted this season.
His mother, Angela Gardner, confirmed her son requested the redshirt, but she was caught off guard by the timing of Stansbury’s public comments. She said assistant coach Marcus Grant had told her it was “too early” to hand out a redshirt, and she was scheduled to speak with coaches about the matter next week.
Stansbury said Thursday that Gardner, the 2011 Daily Journal Player of the Year and a first-team Parade All-American, wanted to sit out this year in order to catch up in several areas. But Angela Gardner said it was because he knew he’d be riding the bench behind two other players at the shooting guard spot.
Brian Bryant and Jalen Steele will be playing a lot at the two guard this season.
Angela Gardner learned of the dismissal Thursday night when she spoke with Stansbury.
“He disagrees with me in my thinking that they lied when they were recruiting him,” Angela Gardner said. “He says that he only recruited D.J. in that spot, which is true, he did. He did not recruit anybody but D.J., but he already had two people there.”
During MSU’s exhibition tour in Europe, Gardner saw limited action in three of the five games and scored six points.
Angela Gardner said she was “embarrassed” by her son’s Twitter tirade and added that he had not been happy since arriving on campus in June.
“He tweeted out of anger. He’s young, and he’s got a lot of learning to do,” she said.
D.J. Gardner did not respond to a request from the Daily Journal seeking comment.
Gardner’s mother said he’s handling the dismissal well and is looking to transfer to another school – likely a junior college – very soon.
“After listening to things he was telling me that was going on,” she said, “I really didn’t think that Mississippi State was the best place for him.”
Gardner is the fourth player to leave the program since January.
Brad Lock/NEMS Daily Journal