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Burns & Gambo

College basketball fans: the good, the bad and the real losers

Oklahoma State's Markel Brown (22) and Phil Forte (13) hold Marcus Smart(33) after Smart shoved a fan during their NCAA college basketball game in Lubbock, Texas, Saturday, Feb, 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, Tori Eichberger)

I'll let you in on a little secret: The student section at ASU basketball games is quietly one of my top ten favorite things about sports in this town.

They're fun. Creative. Passionate.

I'm sure they're no different than a lot of student sections at a lot of college basketball arenas around the country, but I don't visit those buildings so I have no point of reference.

They've gone through long stretches of silence to honor James Harden. Now they have the "Curtain of Distraction," a tool designed to throw off opposing players while they shoot their free throws.

It's...weird. Clever. Awesome at times -- crazy as it sounds -- it's effective. It's the kind of thing that makes a middle-aged guy like me smile at goofy kids acting like goofy kids.

It's a shame that one student in that group chose to spit at the Oregon assistant coach and trainer on Saturday. I won't let the classless behavior of one define the whole, however. ASU responded swiftly and appropriately.

According to Azcentral, that student was dealt with immediately and had their season tickets revoked. Good. The school had a situation, dealt with it, and moved on.

ASU isn't the only school dealing with this. Magnified to the power of 10 is the situation with Marcus Smart and Texas Tech.

Look, there are certain truths here. First, it's obvious that Smart, or any player, cannot go into the stands and put his hands on a fan. Ever.

It's pretty clear that Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford did very little to diffuse the situation, which by all accounts, defines his entire tenure there.

What's not clear is what this "superfan" Jeff Orr said to get Smart so riled up. I don't know if the guy made a racial reference or not. What I can't stand, or even understand, is how he's attempting to justify himself by saying he regrets calling Smart a "piece of crap" but then insists that he only called him a "piece of crap" and made no reference to his race.

Oh, you hear that honey? He ONLY called him a piece of crap. Thank goodness the guy has some respect, right? If you're a 50-year-old guy and your only hobby in this world is going to college games and calling 19-year-old kids "pieces of crap" you're pretty much the mayor of Loserville.

I'm sure he's not alone. There are lots of boosters and "superfans" everywhere that feel entitled to say what they want. They're wrong.

What Marcus Smart did was wrong; what Orr did wasn't much better.

About the Author


School: Got my degree from NAU. Spent a year at U of A and a summer at ASU. I root for no one/everyone.
When you started with Bonneville Phoenix: August of 1998
Favorite sports memory: co-hosting the post game show for Game 7 of the 2001 World Series until five in the morning with Brad Cesmat and Craig Grialou. Close second: on the field at the end of ASU 19 Nebraska 0.
Favorite all-time athlete: Randy Johnson. No one in any other sport was better.
Favorite sports movies: Sports: Field of Dreams, The Natural, Moneyball. Non-Sports: Raiders of the Lost Ark, Silence of the Lambs

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