Viral Allen-Vanoss basketball video spurs anger, questions

Video captureIn this video, a Vanoss basketball player can be seen being hit with a basketball during a recent game.

VANOSS — A video clip from a high school boys basketball game between Allen and Vanoss depicts an Allen player throwing a basketball hard against the head of a Vanoss player, prompting anger from many who have viewed it on social media. 

Vanoss defeated the Mustangs 76-61 Friday night in Allen.

The video uploaded to Facebook shows Tucker Elliott of Allen hitting Sando Hill of Vanoss in the head with the basketball during an inbounds play. Hill fell to his knees for a moment, got up and placed his hands on his knees and then shook off the hit and continued to play in the game.

Hill scored 13 points and had a steal and monstrous dunk later in the first period, just minutes after taking the hit to the face.

No type of infraction was called on the play by game officials Zayne James or Kevin Mann.

A second video of the play, filmed from a different angle, was later published to Facebook. Near the end of that video, Vanoss boys coach Jonathon Hurt can be seen addressing James about no infraction being called on Elliott. Hurt is also shown receiving an technical foul from the referee during the debate.

The video was originally posted by Tim McGinnis, the father of Vanoss player Trae McGinnis. It was after Stephenie Everett, who has been the official bookkeeper for the Vanoss basketball teams for most of the last 40 years, posted the video to her own Facebook page and shared it to the Facebook group called “Ada Curiosity (Oklahoma)” that the videos really took off.

As of 5 p.m. Monday evening, the original video posted by Everett had 165,258 views, 3,588 shares and 860 comments from Facebook users voicing their opinions on the incident. Many of the commenters were angry about the play and felt like Elliott should have received some disciplinary action.

Hurt said he was surprised that neither James or Mann called nothing at all on Elliott after the now-controversial play.

“It’s my opinion that the play was clearly intentional and that there is no place in the game of basketball or any sport for what took place Friday night. I feel like deliberately throwing the ball off an opposing players’ face a foot away should result in at least a flagrant (or technical) foul, but probably an ejection so things don’t escalate,” Hurt told The Ada News. “I understand officials have a tough job and can’t see everything.”

Hurt said he’s glad cooler heads prevailed.

“I’ve known (Allen boys coach Greg Mills) for a long time and consider him a friend. I’m assuming he and his two assistants were coaching and missed the unfortunate event and that’s why he wasn’t taken out of the game,” he continued. “I’m extremely proud of my players for the way they handled themselves. Hopefully everyone can learn from this and move on. Player safety is most important and thankfully Sando is a tough kid and doing just fine.”

Charles Hill, the high school principal at Vanoss and Sando Hill’s father, was also still upset Sunday night.

“I have faith in the Allen administration to deal with this in an appropriately serious manner,” Hill said. “There are really only two truly important things here: Sando wasn’t hurt, and the Allen senior will hopefully learn things that will help him as a young adult”.

Allen athletic director Tony Wellington released a statement to The Ada News Monday morning.

“This was an unfortunate incident in the midst of a hard-fought game. The players directly involved met and shook hands after the game with no further incident. While no violation or warning was issued by the referee on the scene at the time, the matter is being reviewed and dealt with at the team level,” he said.

Mann called the situation “unfortunate” but declined further comment on the situation.

Jeff Cali has been covering sports in the Ada area since the mid-90s. He graduated from Byng High School and earned a bachelor’s degree from East Central University.