Men's Basketball

Boeheim calls Marcus Smart’s fan-pushing incident ‘a fluke’

Jim Boeheim downplayed Marcus Smart’s shoving of Texas Tech fan Jeff Orr at the end of Oklahoma State’s 65-61 loss to Texas Tech on Saturday, during the Atlantic Coast Conference coaches’ teleconference Monday.

“He was involved in a play that happens, I don’t know, every five years, where a player ends up in the stands,” the Syracuse head coach said. “That is so, so unusual. If he hadn’t ended up in the stands, nothing would’ve ever happened. It was just a fluke that he ended up being in the stands.”

Boeheim has coached Smart for two years with USA Basketball and called him a “great kid.” He said Billy Donovan, the head coach of the USA under-18 team, would echo those statements and more. Smart, who was a captain on the under-19 national team, fell into the stands and was helped up by another spectator when Orr told reporters he called Smart a “piece of crap.”

Smart then turned into the stands, stepped up a row and shoved Orr in the chest with two hands. He was suspended three games by the Big 12 on Sunday.

“This is not how I was raised,” Smart told reporters on Sunday. “I let my emotions get the best of me — just can’t let that happen again. It’s something I have to learn from.”

On Monday, Boeheim spoke about the hostile crowds he’s seen through the years. He remembers when the Big East asked for student sections to be moved from behind the visiting team’s bench, and said that the raucousness of crowds has seemed to diminish gradually over the years.

Still, certain road environments are difficult to play in — like Pittsburgh’s Petersen Events Center, where the top-ranked Orange will travel to Wednesday.

“This is part of playing on the road,” Boeheim said. “You have to understand this is going to happen. We’ve played in a lot of tough places over the years.”

Boeheim said he ignores opposing crowds and thinks derogatory signage should be banned from arenas, and reiterated the Smart incident as a one-time thing.

Said Boeheim: “It was a fluke.”

Top Stories