January 05, 2012
Connell (Wash.) High's Cole Vanderbilt was a relative unknown in the basketball world, but all that changed two days ago, when a viral YouTube video turned him into one of the most hated players in Washington.
As the Tri-City Herald reported, Vanderbilt turned into public enemy number one when Michael Christenson decided to film a game between Connell and Highland (Wash.) High to prove to parents at Highland that the basketball league needed better officials.
As it turns out, the clip did more than just spotlight an officiating problem; it also made seniors Cole Vanderbilt and teammate Kennan VanHollebeke look like the dirtiest players on the court.
Someone apparently didn't appreciate the fouls -- the fifth foul is definitely of the flagrant variety -- because before anyone could blink, the video had gone viral, with one website proclaiming Vanderbilt to be "the dirtiest basketball player in America."
While Christenson certainly proved his point with the video, what he didn't expect was the outcry on YouTube from commenters who viewed the clip. The negative and sometimes hurtful responses to the fouls forced Vanderbilt's coaches and family to go into damage-control mode.
"[Cole Vanderbilt] a tough kid, but those that know him know he's a teddy bear," Connell coach Oscar Garza told the Tri-City Herald. "My 7-year-old son loves him and lights up when he's around. But on (YouTube) he's the world's meanest, ugliest kid. It's not fair, but I just want him to know his teammates and coaches are behind him."
Even though you could probably make a case that most of the fouls, while aggressive in nature, weren't of the flagrant variety, there's no doubting the fifth foul is definitely the kind of bushleague garbage that should get you kicked out of a game.
It's clear from the way Vanderbilt goes after the Highland player that he had no intention of going for the ball; he was merely trying to make sure the player never had a chance to make it to the hoop.
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