Coach K concerned over player safety after Virginia fans rush court
Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski is no stranger to fans storming the court. His No. 3 Blue Devils have lost four games this season. All have been on the road, and the opposing fans have rushed the court each time. Virginia fans did the same following their 73-68 upset over Duke on Thursday night, and Coach K expressed concern over it after the game.
“When we’ve lost in the last 20 years, everybody rushes the court,” Krzyzewski said, according to ESPN.com. “Whatever you’re doing, you need to get the team off first. Celebrate, have fun, obviously you won. That’s cool, but just get our team off the court and our coaching staff before students come on.”
Storming the court is a part of college basketball and adds to the drama, but you can understand why a coach would be concerned for the safety of his players. There’s always the potential that a player or coach can literally be trampled, not to mention the outside chance that a fan would intentionally go after someone.
“Look, do you know how close you are to — just put yourself in the position of one of our players or coaches,” Coach K said. “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 [expletive],’ 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.”
Of course, getting the visiting players and coaches off the court before the surge is easier said than done. The fans usually rush the floor as soon as the final second ticks off the clock, and more often than not there’s hardly enough arena security on hand to hold them back. The only thing you can do is what Roy Williams had his players do last year, but that isn’t an option in a close game. In all likelihood, it’s an issue coaches and players will just have to deal with.