June 15, 2010
"Wild" Bill Sprout first caught our attention last season as a result of his hilarious costumes and uncovered belly, but now the Utah State superfan is back in the news for something far more serious.
According to a Facebook group created in his honor, Sprout is in intensive care at a hospital outside Salt Lake City as a result of heart problems stemming from a pneumonia-like virus. A Utah State spokesman confirmed Sprout is in the hospital, but couldn't provide any further details about the 26-year-old's condition or prognosis.
Sprout became an Internet phenomenon earlier this year as a result of his shirtless antics behind the backboard at Utah State's Spectrum as opposing players attempted to focus on their free throws. He arrived at games with minimal clothing but maximum energy, dressing as anything from a pirate, to Cupid, to the Little Mermaid.
The greatest irony about Utah State's biggest fan is that he doesn't even enjoy basketball all that much. He was still learning all the rules late last season, yet the enthusiasm of the Utah State crowds and the chance to make others laugh lured Sprout back game after game.
"I like football, but my friends were coming and they saved me a seat on the front row and I started coming," Sprout told the Deseret News in February. "Now, I won't miss a game. I still don't really like basketball, but I love coming to the games. You can't ask for a better place to have some fun."
Sprout was one of college basketball's most entertaining sideshows last season. Let's hope he's back in his customary seat along the baseline next season, shirtless, screaming and most importantly healthy.
Please send all cards and well wishes to the following address: Patient: William Sproat; 121 South Cottonwood Street; Murray, Utah 84157.