I Guess We Won’t Be Seeing That Eric Montross Clip Anymore

I am certain Montross is tired of being the poster boy for the Duke-UNC rivalry after he bled from a cut under the eye during the first game in 1992. Now the media has a suitable replacement, that of a bloodied and fuming Hansbrough looking to wring the neck of any Duke player he could get his hands on before the UNC staff escorted him to the locker room. It was quite the capper to a wild weekend of ACC basketball. Here is a breakdown of what I saw after the jump.


Hansbrough had collected a rebound and was going to score again with his trademark tenacity when Duke’s Gerald Henderson leapt into the air at which point Hansbrough lost the ball. Henderson swung wildly leading with his forearm in what appeared to be a blind swipe at…well…anything he could make contact with. What he found was the bridge of Hansbrough’s nose who fell to the floor and laid there a few seconds before popping up, obviously enraged by the free flow of blood coming off a nasty laceration on his nose. Hansbrough was held back by referee Karl Hess, Dewey Burke and finally the coaching staff who made the decision to send him to the locker room. It should be noted that this is the second time in four games against the Devils that a Duke player has struck Hansbrough in the face. It happened last season at Cameron when Sean Dockey hit Hansbrough in the face at the end of the game which did not result in anything other than a common foul.

Subsequent to the foul, the referees reviewed the play and ruled the forearm shot to be a “combative” act which resulted in Henderson’s ejection and his suspension for the next game which happens to be the ACC Tournament first round matchup versus NC State. And not that it wasn’t interesting enough it continued in the post game press conference when Coach K apologized but also questioned why UNC still had their starters in the game(an accusation people never make unless something happens.) Roy responded in kind saying that they both still had starters in and given the 8 points in 17 seconds game as a part of this rivalry it was not necessarily out of line. And for those of us who had the sound up, we had to listen to Billy Packer spin this as a hard but not intentional foul.

Here is my take.

I find myself somewhere between Packer’s idiotic defense of Henderson and the assertion that Henderson intended to inflict harm. I am also one not to look at the consequences of the foul but rather the foul itself inside a vacuum. There are basically two major issues with the foul. The first is the fact the ball was clear of the play before Henderson even begins his forearm swing. If you look closely at the replay, you can see where the ball squirts free and then Henderson seem to take a huge swipe which ends with his forearm smacking Hansbrough in the face. There is also a great deal of focus on the close up slow motion replay as the definitive answer to the question since it also shows Henderson may have been swinging with his eyes closed. This leads to second issue which is the fact Henderson followed through with the swipe and then had the forearm come forward to contact Hansbrough face with incredible force. If you watch the play at full speed, the downward force of his forearm is fairly shocking. So, the fact the ball was not there and he contacted Hansbrough face with his forearm instead of his hand led to it being called the way it was called.

So in my opinion what you have here is an out of control play which included a level of frustration that led to Henderson taking a swipe with considerable force and unfortunately for him he ended up hitting Hansbrough with the forearm. So in one respect I am not sure he was out for blood but at the same time he was out of control and was not aware of what was going on in respect to the ball. I also think the foul was called correctly. It was an egregious foul even if Hansbrough does not come up with a bloody nose and since the ball was out of the play it cannot be argued he was making a play for the ball. The forearm contact also looks more like a combative act and the officials have no choice but to call it as such for the simple reason of precedent. If you let this one slide then you open a can of worms as to whether or not such an act might be construed as a attempt to cause injury or accidental in nature. The downside for Duke is that the NCAA rules are specific as to what happens next and that is a suspension.

As for the postgame sparring in the media by the respective coaches, debating whether Hansbrough should have been out there or not is utterly pointless. The play stands on it’s own and whether Hansbrough was out there or not, Henderson still committed a bad foul. One clear fact remains and that was up until that point in the game Duke was still fouling to stop the clock and engaging in a full court press to see if they could rally despite being down 12 with 20 seconds left. As for Roy, he stated he had a sub ready for Hansbrough but the free throw was missed and play resumed. In the final analysis Henderson still committed a exceptionally hard foul which had all the signs of player swinging at the ball without any real control. And if Coach K wants to dance around the issue by playing hypotheticals instead of manning up from the very start and apologizing for the hit(which he got around to after a while) then we can all hope that NC State shoots 76% in the second half against Duke’s sorry rear ends on Thursday night to give us all the pleasure of seeing the Devils exit Tampa after only one day.

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31 Responses to I Guess We Won’t Be Seeing That Eric Montross Clip Anymore

  1. Chris says:

    I think the frustration level was extremely high on Duke’s side, and Henderson did this thing in that context, and not intentionally. I think that either K or Henderson need to apologize, and not be smug about it and pretend it didn’t exist. And most of all I think Billy Packer needs to apologize for being totally unconcerned about the level of injury to Tyler (it conceivably could have been a nasal/facial fracture requiring surgery), and more concerned about repetitively defending his position that Henderson
    was innocent, and what the implications would be for Duke basketball should Hender-
    son be suspended.

  2. C. Michael says:

    Now that it appears that Tyler is ok, anyone else see this as a potential blessing? That tye of galvanizing moment that brings a teams together and lights a fire under their collective arses…

  3. Josh Bowling says:

    Let me start by saying this, I do not (based on many re-runs on my tiVo) see any evidence to convict Henderson of intentionally going after Hansbrough when he jumped in the air. However, when he was suspended in air, he saw an opportunity to extend his arm and lash out at Tyler, and he took that opportunity. Make no bones about it, if it were a play at the ball, he would have went in the direction of the ball, that was a play on Tyler. But you would think for the sake of Public Opinion, he would have scolded his player after that incident, instead, he and his team support Henderson and defended his actions. This is what we have come to expect from them in recent history. How sincere was the team discipline on Laettner? Remember? How about in this incident? There is not enough evidence to make me believe that Duke University and it’s coaching staff doesn’t support this kind of behavior. If they didn’t, they would punish it, at least for public perception. Hey coach K, you could high-five him in the locker room if you want, but at least make us believe you don’t support this stuff man! Anyway, it would take Johnny Cochran to make me, and most people, believe that it was a play on the ball and not Tyler. These guys dive after loose balls all the time and manage to find THE BALL! The only thing in his sights was Tyler. And he was in air long enough to make a decision to come down easy on Tyler, instead, a bloody nose in which they are well known for.

    Henderson, be glad this happened in a game with security and not in a dark alley, after all, he is Psycho T

  4. Chris Tutino says:

    Brian,

    It’s hard to say he didn’t mean to do it when he never even walked over to Tyler to see if he was OK or try to help him up. I mean, if I hit you in the face when you were driving the lane, even if I meant to do it, I’d still try to play if off like I didn’t by trying to help you up!

    Henderson got what he deserved Coach K is a complete idiot for insuating that our starters shouldn’t have been in the game. OK, Mike, so if it was Stephenson or Thompson in, what happened would have been OK?

    What a freakin’ idiot.

  5. Josh Bowling says:

    If is wasn’t for the Billy Packers and Digger Phelps of broadcasting, Duke would have to take further action by team punishment on Henderson to restore public perception. These key figures have allowed this play to be deemed appropriate in a game of basketball, after all, it is a contact sport and a “physical game”. Sometimes these things just happen. All of which are almost quotable by these guys. Knowing our staff, from a historical perspective as well, I think we would go a step beyond league penalties in this matter. We do care about how we are looked at among our other ncaa members, and the public at large.

  6. Josh Bowling says:

    Why shouldn’t we have Tyler in the game Coach K? Is this because your players are capable of doing such a thing when they are in frustrating situations? You have a history of leaving your starters on the court well after a decisive win also. So what you really are saying in your quote is that if we leave our starters in the game, your players have a propensity of commiting hard fouls that could damage one’s career. Good job coach! I am not convinced that you didn’t try to achieve such actions at Cameron when Tyler was on the floor. Slow motion shows the ball at Tyler’s mid section while your players are smacking him in the face. I am just convinced that D.U. supports these kind of actions. After all, players are a reflection of their coach. One thing is consistant, this has happened with different teams with different players, only you Coach K are consistant through those changes.

  7. Tardy Turtle says:

    We’ll never know what was said on the Duke bench before the foul, or if the Duke playbook includes “face fouls,” but these questions are vitally important to the situation. I find it easier to believe (based on all of the past evidence mentioned above) that the DU coaches were telling players to “set the tone” if Carolina came in the lane again. Or possibly, the coaches were motivating the players to protect their pride, making up a story-line about how UNC was intentionally making them look bad by playing the starters. It’s also easier for me to believe that the DU coaches teach the players how to face foul for maximum effect. We’ve seen it too many times. This is not about Henderson (probably a nice guy in a bad environment). It’s about K.

  8. Josh Bowling says:

    Well mentioned Tardy Turtle, you are much more articulate than I in trying to illustrate that. The pattern of consistency with that is too evident and too hard to suppress. I just hate we have to be on the receiving end of that so often. I, like you, wonder if the players were recruited with a propensity for such actions in high school, or if they were developed specifically by this University’s Coach and it’s staff. Maybe Duke’s sorry football program should consider recruiting some of it’s own basketball players. They look like good two sport athletes to me. Sorry Duke, I know our football team isn’t much better either.

  9. Displaced Heel says:

    I am a complete and total TarHeel, and this is my take on the foul: I believe that ALL the ACC players are coached to play as hard as they can, all the time, regardless of the score. If they are on the court, they should be playing to win. That said, common sense should prevail. Do I think that Henderson saw a chance to break Hansbrough’s nose? No. Do I think it was intentional? No. Was it combative? Absolutely. Frustration, playing to win while losing, all those things went into that foul. Now, anyone who is sorry they hurt someone should apologize, right off the bat. The apology means more if it isn’t offered as “well, sorry I got you so hard this time out of all the many other times I have hit you while you were trying to play.” The thing that is absolutely unfathomable is K’s comment that Hansbrough shouldn’t have been on the court at that time. I don’t think even Billy Tubbs would have criticized the opposing coach in this way (the officials, well, that’s a different story). K’s comments show a complete and total lack of respect for opposing schools, coaches, and programs. Of course, k. has been showing that same respect for us since he arrived in the ACC 25 years ago. The attitude of the coach (and the assistant coaches) permeates practices and games, and the dook players absorb it. That is why they play like they do. Who is k. that he can comment on another player’s celebration after winning, or a coach’s decision about his own team? Definitely not someone I want teaching my kid about life, or basketball.

  10. williamodouglas says:

    K can’t have it both ways. If the game was over, then why did he call time-out with 50 seconds left? Why was Duke still pressing? Why did they foul Carolina several times in the last minute and a half?

    I tivo’ed the Duke-Maryland game from 2001 in College Park. It was on last Wednesday. It was clear that Duke had not conceded with 50 seconds left. K has no credibility on that point.

    I think Dave’s comments have merit, but I ask where was the apology or the remorse? Henderson showed none, not when it took place, nor after the game. Secondly, we all take about how good the different schools are, but most people would agree that Duke and Virginia are the most highly rated.

    As a Duke student, from an elite school, Henderson’s actions show an utter failure to understand how much time was left in the game and the possible utility of his actions. This is why the referees were absolutely correct. If he had done the same thing ten minutes earlier, he probably would have only been charged with a flagrant foul. Doing what he did at that point in the game shows either lack of intellect or common sense. You don’t go for a running back’s knees when your team is down by 36 points in the fourth quarter and you don’t come hellfire across the lane during garbage time.

    The other thing is that he showed no remorse at all. He could have immediately apologized to Hansbrough or told the referees, “oh my God, I didn’t mean for that to happen! I am really sorry1” Even after the game, Henderson’s attitude was, “well, that’s basketball.”

    In soccer, sometimes you try to make a tackle and you screw it up and you can really hurt a guy or break his leg. If I do something on the field and I don’t mean to, I am going over and trying to find out about the well-being of the person.

    I remember once on my high school baseball team, I ran over the catcher on the other team and I really did not mean to. I immediately leapt up and apologized to both the catcher and to the umpire and the umpire did not throw me out of the game, which was the normal penalty, because I showed remorse and concern about what I had done.

    I know that there are managers like Tony LaRusso and coaches like K (remember the Wake game 2 years ago) who believe that it is part of sports to throw at batters, or in basketball, to foul someone hard to send a message. I disagree.

    Whatever you want to say about Dean Smith, I have seen hundreds of his games and read all his books and I can guarantee that he would vehemently disagree that it is ever appropriated to foul someone harder than necessary, just to send a message or stand up for your program. If that makes Carolina soft, then so be it.

    Unless this “kid” makes a public apology, I will never have any use for him and I will not buy all this stuff about him being “a good kid.”

  11. Josh Bowling says:

    I do not think he saw a chance to break Tyler’s nose, he merely saw an opportunity to hit Tyler in the nose. Remember, Duke is good at executing plays and doing things with precision. When they dive for loose balls, they usually get them. Passing, it is usually pinpoint as well. They are a very efficient and precise team. When they do something, it is usually because they meant to, and it is usually done to a degree of excellence.

  12. Josh Bowling says:

    I was proud to see Reyshawn say that this incident was upsetting and that UNC has more “class than that”. This leads me to believe that he thought it was something more than just an accident, he had seen a play with harmful intentions. When in doubt in a situation like that, stick up for your teammates. Let them understand you didn’t appreciate a hit on your buddy like that. I felt like Tyler thought he was all alone in that situation last night. Our team should have took that as a hit on them collectively. It disturbed me to know that Wayne Ellington thought it was just a foul and a normal play in basketball. I am sure Tyler is comforted to know his teammate feels that way. Hey Wayne, Hansbrough goes in and does all of the dirty work while you get to look pretty standing beyond the arc awaiting an easy 3 point shot. Think about what he provides for you. He is in the trenches so you can sit in your lounge chair and drink a cold lemonade! Take up for him since he takes up for you Wayne!

  13. williamodouglas says:

    I knew we were going to have a problem with Ellington. I am torn. I understand loyalty to a friend, but if they were such great friends why did they go to hated rivals? It seems like a first.

  14. C. Michael says:

    Ellington didn’t say that. He said he didn’t see the foul, just the aftermath. He then stated that he didn’t think Henderson wouldnn’t intentionally try to hurt Tyler, which I can’t disagree with. It was definitely flagrant, and he should definitely be punished, but I’m have no idea what his intent was.

  15. C. Michael says:

    sorry, that should have read, “He then stated that he didn’t think Henderson WOULD intentionally try to hurt Tyler…” silly double negatives!

  16. williamodouglas says:

    It is strange. It is a weird debate. I hear people on the other side who are saying that what Henderson did is all right because the Tar Heels were disrespecting Duke. I cannot believe that anyone associated with Carolina (with the possible exception of Frank McGuire!) would ever go along with that line of thinking.

    Why didn’t Henderson bend down to see if Tyler was all right? I don’t buy the idea that he is a decent kid at all. If I hurt someone, even unintentionally, I would be concerned about their welfare and would apologize or at least say right away, “I never meant to do that,” rather than glowering from a distance. Had Henderson apologized or shown some remorse, he probably wouldn’t have been suspended. But the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

    Regardless of what anyone says in defense of Duke, can anyone imagine what Duke would have done if one of his guy’s had down that?

  17. williamodouglas says:

    our guys.

  18. hhn111 says:

    I think Billy Packer got it wrong. One minute, he’s complimenting Duke for not giving up and the next minute he’s criticizing UNC for keeping Hansbrough in the game. In a rivalry such as this, you expect both team to their starters in as much as possible. In this case, you can’t criticize one team for doing the same thing that you are complimenting another team for doing. It’s contradictory and weaken your argument.

  19. C. Michael says:

    I saw on another site someone had posted the Duke lineups who were on the floor as the final buzzer sounded in a number of their wins. Pretty damning to K’s arguement that TH shouldn’t have beeen out there! And williamdouglas, just to play devil’s advocate ( I agree with you, just like the debate), seeing how pissed Tyler was when he got back up, I don’t think I’d want to be anywhere near him!!! That being said, what will be telling will be if Henderson makes an effort to call and apologize, now that things are calmer.

  20. Josh Bowling says:

    So Billy, what you would do in this situation as a Carolina coach would be to allow Duke’s starters to stay in and play competitively, while benching your starters in an effort to make the game as close as it can be, or to possibly lose? This brings a new meaning to Socialism. Billy, you are as about as biased towards Duke in this situation as some of our Henderson supporters are here! Not to change the subject, but after reading my posts, I could see how some among us might think I am trying to make this appear to be a harsher wrongdoing that it may have been. But, it is what it is. A hard foul that could have been avoided, but wasn’t for the sake of hitting our team leader. I would like to see more (Reyshawn Terry like) attitude towards this. People have posted with this neutral like attitude in order to be perceived as the Great “Non-Biased” fan. Most people desire to be “above the frey” so to speak, more neuonced, more “intelligent than most”, above all this “partisan bickering”. But this is not a time for this Carolina Fans!! This is the time to show that we appreciate Tyler’s effort, we are recipients of his Great game, just like Ellington is! Because he is in the trenches, we get to relax and enjoy great games. Because of his effort, the likes of Wayne Ellington get to go out and with little effort, play the game and take easy shots while Tyler battles for rebounds and second opportunities. Who cares if we are looked at as being Biased towards our team? Of course we are, it is our Team. Just because we are Carolina Fans doesn’t mean we are not right on target with our assessment of Gerald Henderson.

  21. Josh Bowling says:

    C. Michael. I understand you may not be able to determine intent. Maybe I can’t either. But when Duke does things, like many great teams, it is usually accurate. Duke is better than any team I know in causing loose ball situations, going after them, and gaining possession from them. I am convinced that Gerald Henderson knows how to go after a loose ball. He didn’t even head in the direction of the ball. He went after Tyler, and just like when he goes after loose balls, he was successful. Some may think I am looking at this through biased eyes, which is very accurate, I am! That doesn’t mean I am wrong. I looked at the evidence, and made my determination on the criteria at hand. Hell, I think the officiating is Biased towards Duke, but that doesn’t mean when the whistle blows, there wasn’t a foul. Just becauses someone is biased, doesn’t make them wrong.

  22. Tardy Turtle says:

    What if the positions were reversed, what if Mule knocked down Henderson with a bloody nose ( which I just can’t picture, despite Tyler’s reputation for “playing to the contact;” 60 games into his career and its never happened). First, he wouldn’t walk away no matter how angry Henderson was, he’d go toward him in concern. Second, K would FREAK OUT. K only cares about his team, which is his job, but he treats everybody else (including the health and well being of players on other teams) as objects to be manipulated in the advancement of his team. That’s not ethical.

  23. Josh Bowling says:

    When I hear Mike Schsasdflkj;lkjsskkiiiiisdkljzzchii, otherwise known as “Coach K” rant about how “my team is not about that”. A good reporter would say “You mean to tell me coach, that Hansbrough’s incident in Cameron this year, and Dockery’s incident last year(in Cameron), and the Montross/Laettner mishap is not what your team is about? Then why coach, do you allow this to happend on a consistant basis? And why coach, do you not punish your players for such activity that rivals the statement “this is not what my team is about”? I mean, if it really is “not what your team is about”, try to minimize the happenings so that it at least appears that way.

  24. Chris says:

    Another point which this situation raises is the one-game supension policy. All flagrant and/or combative fouls are not the same. This one in my mind is one that should require Henderson to sit for the rest of the season. I think they should change the rule to having the NCAA review the tapes the next day, and then hand out appropriate punishment, not merely a one game suspension. If players know that they might lose much more than one game following these types of violence, it may affect people who might be contemplating Henderson-like behavior in the future. I say the NCAA should use this chance to change the rule.

  25. Chris says:

    I also think that K should at least have the balls to sit Henderson for the rest of Duke’s short season, but I suspect that falls into the proverbial “snowball’s chance in hell” category.

  26. Josh Bowling says:

    I agree Chris. I mean, if for nothing else, at least for public perception sit him out or punish him from a coaching standpoint. Let’s face it, the only reason Henderson is punished is because the NCAA did. If not for them, he wouldn’t be punished at all. I would sit him out a few if I were K, so that it appears to most people that my institution and coaching staff do not “tolerate that sort of behavior”. Hey, maybe he feels that his Public perception is OK. After all, Packer and a few other color commentators have stated that it is the nature of the game, and there was no intent. If enough people feel that way then why should he punish Henderson?

  27. williamodouglas says:

    I love the thing about, “I know Gerald and he wouldn’t do that.” My profession is criminal law and if I had a dime for every time I have heard somebody say that….

  28. hhn111 says:

    Pretty cheap of K to criticize Roy for keeping TH out there in the post game press conference. That sounds like blaming the victim to me. Roy stayed above the fray. Pat Forde has a good article about the whole thing on espn.com.

  29. Frank says:

    Actually, Tardy Turtle, you ask a great question. If Mule had knocked Henderson down despite his reputation of being a great and ethical hard-workin’ guy. All you Carolina fans would be calling for his neck and calling Roy soft for not imposing a multiple-game ban, right?

    NOOOOOOOOOO! All you Carolina fans would be going, “C’Mon, it wasn’t intentional! Cut the guy some slack! He’s a good kid that was playing hard!

    Opinion falls right down tobacco road party-lines. It would be interesting to see what other refs from around the nation think. I betcha 8/10 would NOT have called a flagrant on that play. I betcha 8/10 would not have reviewed a video tape to try and determine intent. (does that video tape seep into the mind of Henderson and let us know what he’s thinking???). And I betcha even the refs in THAT game would tell you, if being totally honest, the sight of the blood and the boos of the crowd affected their decision. It is obvious to bipartisan observers there was no intent.

    Quick, without thinking…act like you are about the nail someone in the face with an elbow. Did you close your fist? Henderson didn’t.

  30. Gurbux Kaur says:

    Great blog I have some one in mind that would be interested. Thank you.

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