Notre Dame's Blake Wesley drives against Texas Tech. Mar 20, 2022; San Diego, CA, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish guard Blake Wesley (0) controls the ball against Texas Tech Red Raiders guard Clarence Nadolny (3) in the first half during the second round of the 2022 NCAA Tournament at Viejas Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

One of the stranger social media sagas in some time comes from Notre Dame Fighting Irish men’s basketball guard Blake Wesley. Wesley, a freshman, led the Irish in scoring with 14.4 points this season, and was named to the All-ACC freshman team and the All-ACC second team. On Wednesday, Notre Dame coach Mike Brey told The Mully and Haugh Show on The Score 670 in Chicago that Wesley (seen above driving against Texas Tech in Notre Dame’s March 20 NCAA Tournament second-round loss) had decided to work through the NBA draft process for the next two months before deciding to return to Notre Dame or become the school’s first one-and-done player ever in men’s basketball. Tom Noie of The South Bend Tribune and their affiliated site then wrote up Brey’s comments in a seemingly-innocuous piece, which then provoked a strange public request for deletion from Wesley:

What’s odd about that is that both Noie’s tweet and his story were not attributing anything to Wesley; they were based off of Brey’s comments. And there doesn’t seem to be much that’s controversial about saying Wesley would explore the draft process. Following changes in 2016, men’s basketball student-athletes now have until 10 days after the NBA combine (May 16-22 this year, so a deadline of June 1) to remove their name from draft consideration and return to school with eligibility intact, and they can participate in the combine and one team workout per year without affecting their eligibility.

There doesn’t seem to be much of a downside for a player to explore that process and return to school if he doesn’t draw a huge amount of NBA interest. It’s even possible to spin that as “I love this school so much that I came back!” So it’s unclear what Wesley is upset about with Noie’s story or this tweet. Interestingly enough, Noie did offer a more definitive analysis of what he thinks Wesley will do on Twitter later:

That would be more understandable as a report that an athlete might want to push back on, either if they legitimately haven’t decided yet or if they have decided but don’t want to announce that decision yet. But that’s hours after Wesley’s request for Noie to delete his tweet and story, so Wesley’s “Can u delete this bruh” was not in response to that. Indeed, it was a response to a story just containing his coach’s comments. And there’s no apparent reason for Noie or NDInsider to delete that, and they have not done so.

What added a further weird twist still to this situation was the tweet that did actually get deleted. That wasn’t a tweet from Noie, it was a tweet from Wesley officially declaring for the draft. (However, as noted above, he could still withdraw by June 1 without a cost to his eligibility.) And it came hours after the deletion request. But it didn’t stay up long:

However, hours later, Wesley then put that out again:

One remaining possibility is that it was the “work through the NBA draft process” that Wesley objected to. Wesley’s actual declaration says “I will be entering my name in the NBA draft” (in the last line, cut off in that embed, but visible here), so maybe he didn’t like the idea that he was just testing the waters. That’s a weird thing to take exception to, though, especially with Noie later tweeting that Wesley seemed likely to go. But Noie’s later update to his story was more forceful:

So if Wesley’s complaint was that Noie’s initial piece wasn’t definitive enough that he has the intention of leaving (which, again, is a curious thing to be mad about, especially when the piece is clearly based on public comments from his coach), maybe the updated piece is better for his specific desires. It now starts with a stronger line of “Notre Dame freshman guard Blake Wesley opened up and stepped through a massive basketball door early Wednesday afternoon. He didn’t completely close it behind him. At least, not yet,” and mentions and quotes from Wesley’s full statement.

All in all, it’s quite unclear what’s going on here, or what Wesley was upset about with Noie’s original story. It’s also unclear why he thought tweeting “Can u delete this bruh” publicly with no further details or explanation was a good way to respond to that story. But it does appear that he’s entering his name into that draft process and planning to move on to the NBA. (As noted, though, he could still change his mind.) And it all led to a bizarre day on Twitter for him.

[Blake Wesley on Twitter, NDInsider; photo from Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.