Duke’s Kyle Filipowski collides with fan, suffers knee injury in court storm

Duke’s Kyle Filipowski collides with fan, suffers knee injury in court storm

Tooba Shakir 54 years ago 0 2

Duke Coach Jon Scheyer said star center Kyle Filipowski injured his knee Saturday amid the commotion of Wake Forest fans storming the court following the Demon Deacons’ 83-79 upset of the No. 8 Blue Devils in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Video showed a fan colliding with Filipowski as the crowd rushed toward midcourt and the 7-foot center walked off the Joel Coliseum floor. Filipowski, who led Duke with 17 points and eight rebounds, was hobbled during the rush and had to be helped off the court.

“When are we going to ban court storming?” Scheyer said in a news conference after the game. “When are we going to ban that? How many times does a player have to get into something where they get punched or they get pushed or they get taunted right in their face? It’s a dangerous thing.”

“I absolutely feel like it was personal, intentional for sure,” Filipowski told WFMY News. “There’s no reason where they see a big guy like me trying to work my way up the court and they can’t just work around me.”

Duke staffers helped Filipowski walk off the floor through the tunnel to the locker room. “This gotta change,” he tweeted shortly after the game.

Court storming and its safety risks have drawn greater attention since Iowa star Caitlin Clark said she was “blindsided” in a collision with an Ohio State fan last month following the Hawkeyes’ upset loss to the Buckeyes. Clark later told reporters she was okay but that the hard fall briefly knocked the wind out of her.

Scheyer referenced Clark in his comments Saturday, saying: “You look around the country. Caitlin Clark, something happens, and now [Filipowski], I don’t know what his status is going to be. … When I played, at least it was 10 seconds [before] you would storm the court. Now, the buzzer doesn’t even go off and they’re running on the floor.”

Scheyer initially described Filipowski’s injury as a sprained ankle but later clarified to CBS Sports that the center injured his knee.

Caitlin Clark collides with fan in ‘kind of scary’ moment during court storm

Criticism of court storming has increased since the Clark incident.

After several court storms in late January, ESPN basketball analyst Jay Bilas said: “Fans do not belong on the court, ever, ever. And players do not belong in the stands. … In the Southeastern Conference, the conference has deemed that a violation that will cost you a fine of $100,000. South Carolina stormed the court and the president emeritus ran out.”

Following Saturday’s game, CBS analyst Gary Parrish referenced the lesser-known victims of court-storming, saying: “There are actually people who have stormed a court and been seriously injured during that. I mean, ended up in wheelchairs. It just didn’t happen on CBS or ESPN, so it didn’t register nationally.”

The SEC on Thursday fined LSU $100,000 after fans ran onto the court following its men’s team’s upset of No. 17 Kentucky. In June, the conference increased penalties for field and court stormings, and under its new guidelines, offending schools must pay $100,000 for a first offense, $250,000 for a second offense and $500,000 for subsequent offenses.

The Big East and Pac-12 issue fines for court storming, as does the Big 12, which penalized Central Florida $25,000 for a court-storming after its men’s team upset Kansas in early January. The Big Ten penalizes schools on their third offense, but the ACC does not levy fines.

“I didn’t see what happened in the end. I hope [Filipowski is] okay,” Wake Forest Coach Steve Forbes told reporters Saturday. “I don’t like court stormings. I never have. I’ve been a part of those before as a coach. They just don’t feel safe.”

Filipowski, a former five-star recruit, was a projected first-round pick before deciding to return for his sophomore year. He leads the Blue Devils in points, rebounds and blocks this season.

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