A Fitchburg State player has been indefinitely suspended from his team and barred from campus as a result of a vicious cheap shot he delivered late in Tuesday’s loss to fellow Massachusetts Division III school Nicholls College.
Kewan Platt dropped Nicholls guard Nate Tenaglia with a right elbow to the face better suited for a WWE match than a basketball game.
The incident occurred just after Tenaglia drilled a corner 3-pointer with less than three minutes to go in his team’s 84-75 victory. After appearing to turn his head to check whether the referee on the baseline was paying attention, Platt took his chance to retaliate, leaving Tenaglia writhing on the floor in pain clutching his face.
Another referee spotted the malicious cheap shot, blew his whistle and slapped Platt with his second technical foul of the game, resulting in his ejection. The junior guard was escorted off the floor as Tenaglia collected himself and referees briefed both coaches on what happened.
“I was proud of how our guys handled the situation,” Nicholls coach Scott Faucher told Yahoo Sports. “They came together and focused on the next play.
“Nate actually made the two free throws and stayed in the game. He’s an extremely tough kid. He took the shot, rallied his teammates together and went right to the free throw line.”
It’s unclear what provoked Platt because neither Fitchburg State coach Titus Manderson nor athletic department spokeswoman Bettiann Michalik immediately returned messages left by Yahoo Sports. Asked what he thought led Platt to take his frustration out on Tenaglia, Faucher said he’s “not really too sure.”
“There wasn’t really anything before that, any incidents,” he added.
Full video of the game confirms that there were no previous physical altercations but does provide a bit more context. Fitchburg State’s previous possession ended with Platt attempting an ill-advised step-back 3-pointer that sailed several feet over the rim, perhaps leaving him frustrated enough to make a poor decision seconds later.
Unsurprisingly basketball fans on Twitter were furious upon seeing the vision of Platt’s elbow, with many calling for him to be charged with assault.
This is insane. Why just one year? Kick him off
— Doug Kezirian (@DougESPN) November 14, 2018
He should be kicked off the team for good.
— Ian Schafer (@ischafer) November 14, 2018
Suspended? Charges need to be pressed.
— Jack Appleby (@JuiceboxCA) November 14, 2018
He should be charged with assault.
— LA Sports Radio (@LASportsRadio) November 14, 2018
Diabolical. Even took a little glance back at the official to make sure he wasn't looking right before he did it. That's premeditated, and excessive…. he should probably be kicked off the team, possibly out of school.
— Eldrick Tont (@TigerTigerWoods) November 14, 2018
No, he deserves jail. For a long time.
— Apes2Angels (@Apes2Angels) November 14, 2018
He also glanced back to make sure the ref was facing the other way.
He knew what he was doing. It's not just flagrant, it's also malicious.
— R. S. S. (@_R_S_S_) November 14, 2018
Fitchburg State announced Platt’s punishment via statement Wednesday afternoon, saying that it’s “appalled” by his conduct. The junior college transfer’s indefinite suspension is not a decision the school could take lightly considering he’s the Falcons’ leading scorer so far this season at 21.3 points per game.
His behavior is antithetical to our community values and good sportsmanship. Fitchburg State does not tolerate behavior that violates those standards. The case is being reviewed at the student conduct level for consideration of further sanctions.
— Fitchburg State (@Fitchburg_State) November 14, 2018
Jeff Eisenberg – Yahoo Sports