Posted February 28, 2014

Utah Valley-New Mexico State brawl a warning sign on court storming

WAC

Storming the court is fun. Storming the court often enough gets you on television. This more or less is why anyone anywhere storms a court: It is a harmless lark devoid of true meaning.

Rarely has it been the way it was on Thursday night in Orem, Utah: Ugly, brutish and dangerous, with real punches thrown and the threat of injury rearing up. New Mexico State’s KC Ross-Miller cocked his arm and spiked a ball off the leg of Utah Valley’s Holton Hunsaker as time expired. As the tension erupted immediately, fans entered the playing surface. If all hell didn’t exactly break loose, one neighborhood of it did. Players took swings, fans shoved Aggies players, and peacekeepers desperately entered the maw to pull everyone out of harm’s way.

Anyone wanting to excise the court storm from college basketball completely — Won’t somebody think of the children?!? — now has Exhibit A. There was an issue with player safety here, because there was no player safety here. Given the context of every other court storm that didn’t require ringside judges, and given the culpability of the players here, it’s a bit hysterical to consider the issue at its tipping point.

It’s not as hysterical to consider how it can get worse from here and how to prevent that from happening.

But first, a problem with using The Attack In The WAC in an anti-court storm screed: The players started it, or at least one of them did. Remove every soul from the arena and have Ross-Miller throw the ball at Hunsaker like it was recess dodgeball. See if all parties would leave the court with a collective Why I never and not a fist or two balled and aimed at a face. Or, at minimum, an escalation of hostility in what was already a pressure-packed game for the league lead.

That’s why New Mexico State suspended Ross-Miller on Friday and coach Marvin Menzies issued a statement that in part read: “No matter what provoked KC, what he did was inexcusable and hence the suspension.” If he doesn’t strike the match, it’s in all likelihood a non-event, just another fleet of fans dancing on a floor.

Yet it can’t be ignored that those fans were tinder a little brushfire didn’t need, and a bad situation got worse. After the infamous shove-a-fan episode involving Oklahoma State’s Marcus Smart, the safety issue that concerned most coaches was what security was on hand to ward off court-stormers — how to shield players from fans entering the playing surface, not how to control the players potentially leaving it.

One regrettable episode Thursday night doesn’t seem enough to ban court storms completely. It might be enough to reassess the measures already in place to protect the visiting team, including additional security that holds off the fans — if that’s even possible — until potentially aggravated players have left the court. Because if you’re going to permit court storms, what happened at Utah Valley is an unsurprising consequence, if not an eventuality.

14 comments
Texboy14
Texboy14

Of an NCAA Basketball game*

Texboy14
Texboy14

Dear College Students,

I have seen some news about college students storming the court in the middle a and NCAA Basketball game. And that is starting to piss me off. So, here's just a little advice:

Stop storming the courts! There is no point of it. You're there to watch the game, not storm the court! Sit back, relax, and WATCH THE GAME!!!

From,

Texboy14

Joe R2
Joe R2

And here come the racial comments.  Because we all know that the White Mormons are always innocent victims...

rhomea
rhomea

If you watch closely you will see a bunch of WHITE fans (one redheaded guy and a few others) throwing fists at a player who has already been restrained by his coaches and is being pushed backwards. it is not a race issue, it's a stupid issue and there was plenty of that on both sides. Fact is that fans think buying a ticket entitles them to be arseholes and break the rules. It does not. The NCAA should step in and use the SEC rule but with bigger fines for the first offense, second offense should equal a forfeit when video evidence shows that it was home fans  - that will keep the fans in the stands and players safe. The idea that this should just be allowed to happen until someone gets seriously hurt is totally moronic.

train805
train805

Storming the court is getting to be lame and retarded. Unless you're an unseeded team who just beat a #1 seed, there's no reason for it. Take the party back to the frat house.

JamesJoyce
JamesJoyce

Thug - plain and simple - take it back home boy.

ll316
ll316

Because there's been 1 instance of something like this happening in the thousands of instances of court stormings.  Yes, we should absolutely overreact.  

Delusional
Delusional

These white people need to be put in cages. Crazy white people storming into the court to start up fights

Bucky182
Bucky182

I thought hostility wasn't allowed in Utah?

IGetSoMad
IGetSoMad

Thug - the way closet racists get around using the N word. 

tomy12
tomy12

@badboykilla4rilla  dont know why you have to bring race into this.


it was new mexico's player who threw the ball at utah's #12 that provoked all this