Home / News / Duke’s Filipowski hobbled after fan collision during field storm following Wake Forest win – Chicago Tribune

Duke’s Filipowski hobbled after fan collision during field storm following Wake Forest win – Chicago Tribune

Written by: AARON BEARD (AP Basketball Writer)

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — Kyle Filipowski recalled seeing footage of Iowa women’s basketball star Caitlin Clark being accidentally knocked down by a fan charging onto the court after her team suffered an upset loss.

About a month later, Duke’s 7-foot-2 star found himself part of the same debate about the dangers of a court storm; his right leg was wrapped in plastic to attach an ice pack to his kneecap. And he wasn’t happy with what had just happened.

“It’s like any other upset game where fans run onto the field, everything is going crazy,” Filipowski said after colliding with a running fan following the eighth-seeded Blue Devils’ loss at Wake Forest on Saturday. “I’m just trying to get off the field and, you know, these crazy college kids do whatever they want. “When such things happen, we need to be a little more protective.”

The Clark incident will come after January 21 – No. No. 2 Iowa’s loss at Ohio State served as a reminder of the risks facing athletes and coaching staffs trapped in front of the impending influx of enthusiastic fans eager to celebrate at midfield.

It has long been considered a rite of passage and part of the fabric of college athletics; especially in a sport that thrusts itself into the national spotlight with its annual “March Madness” spectacle in the NCAA Tournament. But Saturday marked the latest incident in a potentially combustible combination formed by fans pushing their way through the athletes’ lines until the final horn — this time involving the Associated Press preseason All-American.

“When will we ban court raiding?” Duke coach Jon Scheyer said: “So when will we ban this? How many times does a player have to walk into something where they will be punched, pushed, or mocked in front of their face? “This is a dangerous thing.”

Later Saturday night, Wake Forest athletic director John Currie released a statement saying he expressed “regret” for the incident to Duke athletic director Nina King and Atlantic Coast Conference senior associate commissioner Paul Brazeau.

“While our event management staff and security have rehearsed post-game procedures to protect the visiting team and officials, we clearly need to do better,” Currie said.

The prologue came with Duke trailing by four with 1.8 seconds left and a single coming in for some sort of miraculous finish. With the fans already on the pitch, Mark Mitchell played a long pass that was intercepted by Cam Hildreth in the middle of the pitch. And when the horn honked, they started running at full speed.

“So it’s like everyone knew this was coming,” Filipowski said. “They were ahead by 4 with 2 seconds left. Everyone was just waiting for this moment. Did they do anything to stop this? They did nothing to stop it. This is ridiculous.”

Filipowski’s collision occurred as he was walking from sideline to sideline toward the Duke bench, setting him on the path to the equivalent of a wide-open charge from the baseline.

Filipowski, who raised his arms as if to be prepared for a possible collision, appeared to hit the leg of a fan running past him with his right leg and lost his balance. Amid the chaos, he wrapped his arms around the shoulders of coach and teammate Stanley Borden to get through the locker room tunnel.

In the footage, a Wake Forest fan can be seen pushing his right hand into the middle of the number 30 on the back of Filipowski’s jersey as he swings.

“I had already heard that there were some videos of people being punched from behind, so I definitely think this is personal,” Filipowski said. “You know, it’s definitely intentional. Like I said, there’s no reason for them to see a big guy like me trying to get my way off the field, and they can’t just work around me. There’s no excuse for that.”

Scheyer, who cited the Clark incident and said he regretted not taking his players off the field sooner, was asked if he would press ACC officials on the issue for future changes.

“Yes, they are here today, you see,” Scheyer said. “Who in their right mind could see that and say, ‘Yeah, that’s smart?’ Dangerous. In what other sport does this happen? “And I’m telling you, I don’t think so, what happened, the buzzer rang and suddenly the fans were at half court.”

It certainly happened quickly on a day when the mood at Joel Coliseum was favorable to the Demon Deacons’ stock, who drew a record crowd and sold out for the first time since 2017 and got a big boost in their chances of earning an NCAA Tournament bid.

But by the end of the game, the afterglow of the thrilling performance had worn off. And Currie said he agreed with Scheyer “that more needs to be done about court and field storming, which is a national phenomenon.”

“I didn’t see what happened at the end, I hope it’s good,” Wake Forest coach Steve Forbes said. “I don’t like court storms, never have. I was a part of these before as a coach. They just don’t feel safe. And I’m confident that next time a situation like this happens, we’ll handle it better.”

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