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Duke’s Kyle Filipowski, projected top-10 draft pick, injured as Wake Forest fans storm court after upset

Duke’s Kyle Filipowski, projected top-10 draft pick, injured as Wake Forest fans storm court after upset

Duke center Kyle Filipowski got injured when Wake Forest fans stormed the court. (Photo by Samuel Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

No. 8 Duke was upset in an 83-79 road loss to Wake Forest on Saturday, and star Blue Devil Kyle Filipowski was injured in the aftermath.

The court at Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum was immediately stormed by fans when the game ended. Filipowski, a projected top-10 NBA Draft pick, was walking off the court when a fan sprinted in his path. He appeared to injure himself during the chaos, prompting teammates and personnel to rush and help him to the locker room.

Duke head coach Jon Scheyer called for change as he spoke to reporters after the loss.

“Flip sprains his ankle,” he said. “When are we going to ban court stormings?”

When Filipowski spoke, he clarified that he injured his knee. He can be seen grabbing it in an aerial view of the incident, which also appears to show him attempting to shove the fan out of his way. The 20-year-old sophomore’s status going forward is unclear.

Calling the situation “ridiculous,” Filipowski added that he took multiple hits during the chaos.

“There’s some videos of me getting punched in the back. I absolutely feel like it was personal, intentional for sure,” he said. “There’s no reason they see a big guy like me trying to work my way off the court and they can’t just move around me. There’s no excuse for that.”

ESPN just showed a new angle of the court-storming at Wake Forest where Duke’s Kyle Filipowski was injured. Can clearly see where he hurts his knee as a fan taunts him while racing to midcourt. Unbelievable. pic.twitter.com/ABAsKC2kTI

— Kyle Boone (@kyletheboone) February 24, 2024

Filipowski had just finished a solid game against the Demon Deacons, recording 17 points, eight rebounds and five assists.

Before offering a disclaimer that he doesn’t want to take away from Wake Forest’s win, Scheyer emphasized the danger of the fans’ actions.

“When I played, at least it was 10 seconds and then they would run on the floor,” he said. “Now, the buzzer doesn’t even go off and they’re running on the floor. This has happened to us a bunch this year.”

In his comments, Scheyer referenced an incident that saw Iowa superstar Caitlin Clark collide with a court-storming Ohio State Buckeyes fan after an upset last month. Clark didn’t sustain a lasting injury, saying that the fan “knocked the wind out of her” while she was trying to get off the hardwood.

Saturday’s contest between Wake Forest (18-9, 10-6) and Duke (21-6, 12-4) was a close one, featuring 14 ties and 14 lead changes. Wake Forest’s Hunter Sallis scored 29 points in the victory, leading the charge to thwart Duke’s five-game winning streak.

Scheyer noted that the win should land the Demon Deacons in the NCAA tournament, crediting the opponent and acknowledging his team’s shortcomings. “We need to be better, we need to learn from this, but that needs to stop,” he said.

Wake Forest head coach Steve Forbes agreed that the celebration went too far.

“I don’t like court-stormings,” Forbes told reporters. “I never have. I’ve been part of them before. Next time we’re going to have to do a better job of taking care of that situation.”

As did Wake Forest athletic director John Currie, who said in a statement he agrees something must be done about court-storming:

“On behalf of Wake Forest, we sincerely regret the unfortunate on-court incident following this afternoon’s men’s basketball game and hope the involved Duke student-athlete is doing better. I called Duke Vice President and Director of Athletics Nina King and ACC Senior Associate Commissioner Paul Brazeau immediately after the game and expressed our sincere regret for the situation and our concern for the Duke student-athlete’s well-being. Although our event management staff and security had rehearsed postgame procedures to protect the visiting team and officials, we clearly must do better. I appreciate the postgame comments of Duke Head Coach Jon Scheyer and I am in complete agreement that something more must be done about the national phenomenon of court and field storming and Wake Forest looks forward to being a part of those conversations.”

Storming the court has long been a part of college basketball culture, and there have been plenty of examples this season. On Thursday, the SEC fined LSU $100,000 when fans celebrated the Tigers’ victory over No. 17 Kentucky.

The ACC reportedly doesn’t sanction court-stormings, but maybe that will change.

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