CHICAGO (CBS) — The president of North Lawndale College Prep High School has denied allegations that a basketball player deliberately undercut an opponent Friday night, causing a brawl that ended with both teams disqualified from the state tournament.
There was less than a minute left in the Class 3A sectional final between Farragut Career Academy and North Lawndale on Friday, when Farragut guard Donovan Jones scored, and came down on a player from North Lawndale, then landed awkwardly on the back of his neck.
“My feet flew to the back of my head,” Jones said after the game. “I really messed myself up.”
In a statement posted on the school’s Facebook page, NLCP President Garland Thomas-McDavid said a Farragut player then aggressively pushed one of his players. He also denied the North Lawndale player intentionally undercut Jones.
“There was no planting directly beneath the dunker (he was on the opposite side of the rim), and no shoving movement/motion to indicate an in-air displacement. It is clear in the video that #11 (our player) did not intentionally undercut anyone,” he wrote.
After Jones fell to the court, a scuffle started between players from both teams. It escalated when fans from both sides joined in.
Afterward, the Illinois High School Association ruled the game a double forfeit, meaning both teams were disqualified from advancing to the Class 3A state tournament.
“That could have been a life-changing decision right there, and it really hurts them. It hurts them to their heart” said Jones’ father, Gerald.
Jones was sent to the hospital. He said his injury doesn’t compare to the disappointment he’s feeling, and he really hopes the IHSA will take another look at the incident.
“I wanted to make this run, and maybe even be looked at by more college coaches,” he said.
Thomas-McDavid said it saddens him.
“Our team has committed to learn from this and move forward.”
It’s unknown if IHSA will conduct a second review of the brawl.