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Arizona coach Miller sounds off on court storming

February 25, 2016 / Athletic AdministrationBasketball
Colorado fans celebrated the Buffaloes’ 75-72 win over Arizona on Wednesday by storming the court, and that didn’t sit well with Wildcats coach Sean Miller.

Screenshot via YouTube
Screenshot via YouTube

Part of the issue is Arizona players weren’t immediately ushered off the court, and at least one player was seen interacting with a fan. Nothing escalated, but Miller thinks it’s only a matter of time before something does.

From his postgame press conference:

“Eventually what’s going to happen in the Pac-12 is this,” Miller said. “An Arizona player is going to punch a fan, and they are going to punch the fan out of self-defense. And when it happens — and only when it happens — will everyone take a deep breath and say, ‘We have to do something to protect both teams so that when the game ends we have a deep breath to be able to leave the gym.'”

“Until that happens, it’s falling on deaf ears because there’s only one team right now that the court’s stormed on. Three consecutive years, anytime we lose on the road it’s the same. Some are more under control, some aren’t. But I’m in control of the whole enterprise. If a 7-foot, 250-pound Kaleb Tarczewski gets bumped, literally within three seconds of the game ending, and he retaliates, what would be the response of our conference?”

“Something has to be done,” Miller said. “I’m going to be fine. Somebody can say whatever they want to me. Somebody can do whatever they want. Spit, do whatever you want. But I’m worried about the players that are under my direction…At least have some substance and control so that our guys aren’t potentially in a situation where a lawsuit comes.”

This isn’t the first time a coach has raised concerns over court storming. Last year in Kansas State’s win over rival Kansas, fans rushed the floor and ran into coach Bill Self and one of his players. In 2014, after Utah Valley upset New Mexico State, fans got involved in a fight between two players.

Miller is only wrong on one point, and that’s the notion that it will take just one incident for us to examine court storming and how to address it. The truth is, we’ve already witnessed these traditions go awry, yet very little has been done to protect teams or the fans.

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