LA Thieves’ acquisition of Cuyler ‘Huke’ Garland — and subsequently benching him after just a couple of weeks — was one of the biggest stories of the 2021 CDL season. Now, the coaches and top management have explained what went down.
While Matthew ‘Nadeshot’ Haag doesn’t have much control over the day-to-day running of LA Thieves as CEO, as a legend of Call of Duty himself he’s clearly very invested in the scene.
Instead, the decision-makers in the team are Eric ‘Muddawg’ Sanderson and two-time CoD world champion Jordan ‘Jkap’ Kaplan.
They integrated Huke into the team, replacing Thomas ‘TJHaly’ Haly on the starting roster, and at the end of Stage 3, he was quickly shifted back out of the team.
Obviously, many fans were perplexed. Bringing Huke over from Dallas Empire can’t have been a cheap venture and, given how much the team hyped him up, they were expected to try and make him work no matter what.
So, ahead of their opening match of Stage 4, the team appeared on the LA Thieves Pre-Show and explained the decision.
“The short story here is it just wasn’t a good fit,” Jkap explained. “Just watching the game, it looked way more difficult on all the players. His playstyle is very individual-based, and I don’t think it’s a conscious decision on his end, but it’s something we had an issue with and it wasn’t really getting better.”
Muddawg also explained his thoughts on the matter, saying that Jkap’s thoughts made it “sound a little worse than it was.” He said: “To change a playstyle can be a difficult thing to do, but when someone’s instinct is to play the game a certain way, it can be tough to change… I think there was just a lack of cohesiveness in the playstyles the two groups had.”
Nade agreed, adding that Huke is a generational talent but typically he believes if something isn’t working in the first week or two, it’s never going to work.
They don’t rule out the possibility of Huke coming back in the future, Nadeshot saying that Muddawg and Jkap will continue working with him, but what it means for his role within the team looks a little bleak.