We’re all for the spirit of competition, especially come March. The stakes are higher, the gyms are louder, each possession seemingly that much more important.
That said, no matter a game’s intensity, there is no place for fouls like this one from Friday night’s Kansas Class 1A-I state semifinals. See for yourself, as Hanover’s Thomas Atkins is going in for the breakaway slam and is promptly slammed into the basket stanchion.
(Warning: Some NSFW language can be heard in the video)
Despite the apparent ruthlessness of the third-quarter shove, the Centralia (Kan.) player was not ejected but was assessed a flagrant foul, according to the Topeka Capital-Journal. The Capital-Journal also reported that, while Atkins left the game briefly, he did return and was a part of his team’s overtime victory to advance to the state title game.
Atkins finished with 18 points.
As you can hear from the video, many in the gym realized what they had seen was a departure from the normal hard foul. Somehow, Atkins’ teammates kept their composure enough not to cause an incident after the play.
Still, it doesn’t take away from the shock value of such a play. Like a football wide receiver going over the middle, a player going up for a dunk is exposed, and for that split-second any hit can do serious damage given the player’s vulnerability and the distance he has to travel to the ground.
Seeing that the scoreboard read “41-41” on the play below, and “43-43” on the flagrant play in question, it would appear the same Centralia defender was frustrated to again be beaten on an Atkins fast-break dunk in a short time span.
We are glad to hear Atkins is apparently okay.