Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski spent a portion of his postgame press conference Thursday night at Virginia complaining that more needs to be done in college basketball venues to protect visiting coaches and players when fans storm the court following a big win.
At first it seemed like an overreaction on a difficult night for Krzyzewski and the Blue Devils, who lost 73-68 to an inspired Cavaliers team hoping to earn a spot in March Madness. But there was more to the story than initially reported.
Foxsportscarolinas.com reported Krzyzewski and assistant coach Jeff Capel both yelled curse words at fans as security personnel worked to get them off the court amid the chaos when Virginia fans stormed the court at the final buzzer.
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Krzyzewski later said he didn't believe that stadium security did enough to keep fans away from his players and coaches some of whom were caught up in the celebration and had to struggle through the crowd to get off the court and into the locker room.
It's an issue he has talked about in the past. Duke has lost four times this season and all four times have come on the road with opposing fans rushing the court.
“Look do you know how close you are to, just put yourself in the position of one of our players or coaches," Krzyzewski said in his postgame remarks. "I’m not saying any fan did this, but the potential is there all the time for a fan to just go up to you and say, ‘Coach you’re a,” or push you or hit you. And what do you do? What if you did something? That would be the story. We deserve that type of protection.
"I’m always concerned about stuff like that, especially at this time of the year. What if that happened and we get a kid suspended? That becomes the national story. It’s not all fun and games when people are rushing the court, especially for the team that lost. Again, congratulations to them, and they should have fun and burn benches and do all that stuff. I’m all for that. They have a great school, great kids, but get us off the court. That’s the bottom line."
Krzyzewski is of the opinion that fans should be allowed to storm the court but only after the opposing team and coaches have been given the opportunity to clear out, which obviously kills the spontaneous fun and the whole point of storming the court in the first place. But that doesn't mean he doesn't have a point. It seems it's only a matter of time before there is an incident with court storming becoming more and more prevalent this year.
Video replays of the end of the game clearly show stadium workers aligned along the side of the court where the team benches are located attempting to keep Virginia fans and students away from players and coaches. It's clear an effort was made, but maybe more was needed.
Duke senior Mason Plumlee said Virginia students sent threatening tweets to Duke players before the game about a possible court storming if Virginia won.
“People are tweeting us telling us they’re going to hit us in the (groin),” he said. “You don’t know what’s going to happen; guys should be defensive. Half these people are drunk. You don’t know what’s going to happen.
“They should do a better job, and I’m sure they’ll look and realize that, but they run at us, it’s fair game. We’re just protecting ourselves.”
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