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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Storm warning: KU ‘proud’ to see fans take court

Kansas players leave the court after the Jayhawk's 77-52 loss to the Temple Owls Monday at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA. In the foreground from center are Cliff Alexander (2) Kelly Oubre, Jr. (12) and Jamari Traylor (31).

Kansas players leave the court after the Jayhawk's 77-52 loss to the Temple Owls Monday at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA. In the foreground from center are Cliff Alexander (2) Kelly Oubre, Jr. (12) and Jamari Traylor (31).

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Some Kansas University basketball fans on social media have been grumbling about West Virginia’s fans storming the court after the Mountaineers’ 62-61 victory over KU in WVU Coliseum.

After all, West Virginia entered Monday’s game ranked 23rd in the AP poll, while the Jayhawks checked in at No. 8. The Mountaineers were a mere 1.5-point underdog, meaning the result did not classify as a monumental upset.

“As fans of the program and whatnot, you should be proud that people storm the court whenever somebody knocks us down, because it means a lot to those respective people because it’s a big game,” KU coach Bill Self said Tuesday on his weekly “Hawk Talk” radio show.

“I don’t know how many games we’ve lost in league play since I’ve been here (37 on the road in 12 seasons). I bet the court has been stormed 70 percent of those times whenever somebody knocks us off. That’s OK,” Self added.

Though court storming can be seen as a compliment to KU, Self says he could do without it on the occasions the Jayhawks lose a game.

“I don’t personally like it, but the only reason I don’t like it is the simple reason I’m always nervous somebody is going to get hurt,” Self said.

Indeed, KU’s Frank Mason III conceivably could have been injured Monday, as he was caught in the middle of the mob scene after the final horn. Mason wasn’t pleased about having to dodge the masses, but he escaped to the locker room without injury or incident.

“All it takes is one student who maybe had a beverage snuck in during the game to chicken-wing a player,” Self said. “You chicken-wing a guy, next thing you know you have a situation like Nebraska-Missouri football (in which an NU player slugged an MU fan who stormed the field in 2003). It wouldn’t take anything.

“You talk about an athlete showing restraint ... if somebody were to hit him, chicken-wing him, think about a guy that strong defending himself. Or your instincts are such if somebody (fan) were to hit you, you react in a way somebody could really, really be hurt and be hurt bad.

“If you are going to allow it — the SEC fines schools who storm — make sure you have the right security in place, game-day management people in place so you can protect the participants, because that could create a nasty scene for somebody to do that.”

KU associate AD Jim Marchiony, who has been at KU since August 2003, said he has never heard of a movement in the Big 12 to penalize schools if fans storm the court.

Of course, KU does not have to worry about the issue in Allen Fieldhouse. Aside from one win in the 15-year Roy Williams era, in which 20 or so students moseyed onto the court after a victory over Texas, there has never been even a possibility of court storming after a KU victory.

“We are not worried about it because our fans are used to seeing us win, they expect us to win, and they have too much respect for Naismith Court and Allen Fieldhouse to rush the court,” Marchiony said.

On a lighter note, Self said he approved of the one time KU fans stormed the court at Allen.

“After the national championship game. That was pretty cool. I wasn’t even there to enjoy it,” Self said.

The 10,000 or so fans who watched KU’s victory over Memphis in the 2008 title game on the center videoboard in Allen indeed gathered on the court once the horn sounded in KU’s 75-68 overtime win in San Antonio.

Comments

Reggie Flenory 6 years, 9 months ago

The players should take it as disrespect as a matter of fact they should remember how they feel every time another team storms to court when they lose remember how crappy they feel internally and that should be motivation to destroy these teams on their home court. Kansas needs to get up for these games like other teams get up to play us. Bill should make the players watch the celebration courtside so they can really internalize how important every game is in this conference

Cody Riedy 6 years, 9 months ago

I agree. I think the best competitors have a nasty streak in which, they don't just want to win, but they don't want anybody else to ever enjoy a win. I know these are two ways of saying the same thing, but I think psychologically these are two slightly different attitudes. The first attitude gets you up for games against tough games, the second attitude is what gets you up for everybody else.

Walter Bridges 6 years, 9 months ago

Taking PRIDE in the home team rushing the court seems misplaced. They should take a lot more pride in keeping the fans quite in their seats or seeing half the fans leaving early.

Michael Johnson 6 years, 9 months ago

Why do our football fans tear down the goal posts when they win? If you beat Alabama, fine. But a 2 win Iowa St team? I'm embarrassed.

Marc Frey 6 years, 9 months ago

That was my first thought. Start winning, and the goal posts stay up.

Cody Riedy 6 years, 9 months ago

I don't think these two situations are all that analogous.

  1. I think safety is a bigger issue in basketball. The fans crush toward the middle of the court and there's little room for players to maneuver. In football, fans tend to run around, there's much more room, and players at least have pads. Also, there's definitely no players in the way when the fans start hanging on the goal post.

  2. Our fans tore down the goal post exactly because our program has been one of the worst in the country for five years. Fans from generally successful and winning programs are storming the court in basketball.

  3. In our round-robin league, in football, you only get to play a rival team at home once every other year. In basketball, you get to play the same teams twice, sometimes three times, every year, and always once at home.

In short, fans should celebrate beating KU, but for some of these teams, storming the court after winning a conference home game is like acting like they won the powerball when all they won was a 1 in 20 chance cash prize on a scratch ticket. But hey, if everybody thinks so much of KU that they treat the game as their national championship, great. Like Self, I just don't like seeing our players get caught in it.

Glen Miller 6 years, 9 months ago

Agreed, I don't like when we storm the field in football. I realize that we were happy to get a league win and I understand why they did it..... but I didn't like the opponent we chose to do it against. If we had beaten a #1 ranked Oklahoma or something like that, I understand

Dirk Medema 6 years, 9 months ago

Because our administration builds goal posts that are cheap enough to allow them to be torn down.

KJ Quartermaine 6 years, 9 months ago

Gary, how many times are you going to use the word "indeed" in the same article? I think once was enough

Scott Quiring 6 years, 9 months ago

I don't like the court storming at all. Regardless of the game. It's a huge risk for somebody to get hurt and I say that in reference to players, coaches, fans, officials...whoever.

My thought on it is: act like you've been there before. I hate seeing fans rush the floor when they beat Kansas. We weren't even a top 5 team and they (W.V. fans) acted like they just won the national championship. And this has happened numerous times to KU even when we weren't a top 10 team.

Players take the floor each night with the expectation that they are going to win - fans should have the same approach. Fans can be excited that they won the game - I'm not bashing that idea - but they can win with class and humility. That's why I love the fans at Allen Fieldhouse.

I think the Big 12 should fine schools that do it - not to put a damper on their parade, but mainly to insure the safety of everybody on the court.

Michael Lorraine 6 years, 9 months ago

Or atleast wait until the opposing players are off the court.

Walter Bridges 6 years, 9 months ago

Not sure how tearing down goalposts aren't every bit as dangerous to the FANS but agree the danger to Players is greater on the basketball court. Sill..injuries from both are pretty rare but they do happen

I'm not sure how to stop it without a very large security force.

Plus I'm sure their are many fans that sit in Allen that storm in Memorial.

Scott Quiring 6 years, 9 months ago

Walter I agree 100% with the goalposts too! Just shouldn't be done regardless of how big the game is. And I like what Bill said about how the only time KU students have ever really rushed the floor was when they let 10,000 or so into the Phog to watch the National Championship game.

Bryan Eck 6 years, 9 months ago

saying that WV "stormed" the court is a bit much....there were only 27 people in the stands....how much of a "storm" could they really create. last time I checked it snows in Lawrence during basketball season too. I thought it was cute how the TV yappers kept making excuses whey the arena was empty....nancy-fans

Michael Lorraine 6 years, 9 months ago

I would be worried about the safety of the players as well. The court/field has always been off limits to fans and if you enter you do so at your own risk. For some reason this gets a pass. It will probably take an incident before the conference does something and the odds are it will involve KU since we are usually the opposing team when the court gets stormed. Ask the other 9 coaches how important it is and they will likely shrug their shoulders.

RJ King 6 years, 9 months ago

That is a great point about the reason for the league's overall lack of concern. Jayhawk players are disproportionately at risk.

Ten championships in a row puts them in a class by tehmselves.

Harlan Hobbs 6 years, 9 months ago

Agree with you totally, Cody.

Of course, I don't like it when the students rush the court, but I have to admit I'm more tolerant when KU wins a football game. The point it that fans are pretty much the same everywhere. However, as many announcers have stated on a number of occasions, KU basketball fans are particularly knowledgeable and recognize a good performance regardless of circumstances.

I remember when Kevin Durant was injured in the game at AFH and had to go to the locker room briefly. He was applauded by are fans when he left the court, but more importantly, they gave him a nice hand when he returned. The fans recognized that they were watching one of the best college players to come on the scene.

Kyle Sybesma 6 years, 9 months ago

I love the court storming! I think it's one of the great aspects of the college game that make it better than the NBA. (There are countless more by the way). I'm always curious to see what programs storm the court and in which games. When we lost at ISU earlier this year I was waiting for them to storm but it didnt' happen. The message it sent me was Hoiberg and the 'Clones have arrived on the national scene and the fan based isn't and shouldn't be surprised when they beat a national power. Winning has become a way of life for ISU basketball fans.

WVU fans showed up with expectations of losing and when they pulled it out they stormed the court with excitement. WVU fans have expectations of losing even when their #23 in the country.

As 'Ol Roy said when quoting Coach Smith, "If the fans are storming the court then it must mean they don't beat us that often."

Don't be mad that teams storm the court. Be mad that they're NOT storming the court because that means they've grown accustom to beating us.

Humpy Helsel 6 years, 9 months ago

I think we stormed the field after we beat WVA in football two seasons back. I don't like it, but coach is right, it is a big compliment. I noticed Iowa State did not storm after they beat us earlier this season. That actually impressed me. That was about all that impressed me that night. Let's win the next two and WVA is a distant memory. So glad we get to play them again at home.

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