Should players give 100% the whole game?

Written by Sidney Harney

Recently, college basketball has been in a state of chaos. Fights have erupted and tensions have flared due to late plays. Now people are arguing whether it is ethically and morally correct for players to play until the final whistle despite the score. 

In the final seconds of the Kansas-Kansas State basketball game on Jan. 21, Kansas State’s DaJuan Gordon stole the ball and attempted a layup. Seconds later, Kansas’ Silvio De Sousa came from behind and blocked the ball out of bounds. De Sousa then stood over the Kansas State player, causing a full-on brawl. Benches were cleared and the fist fight overflowed into the spectator and media area surrounding the court. 

Image from NBC news. Kansas player Silvio Del Sousa mid-fight.

This incident has reignited the ongoing debate of whether players should play til the final buzzer to light once again. The final score ended up being 81-60 in favor of Kansas. This would be considered by most as an already decided game, causing many to question Gordon and why he kept playing. Could it be that he wants to play a whole game of basketball despite the score?

Another incident bringing up the debate occured during an Illinois v. Iowa game on Feb. 2. Unlike the Kansas-Kansas State game, this one did not erupt in a gigantic brawl. In the last 14 seconds, Illinois guard Ayo Dosunmu did not give up on the game and decided to play defense to which the crowd at Carver-Hawkeye Arena began to boo. Then Iowa guard Joe Wieskamp dunked the basketball in spite of the Hawkeyes being ahead by eight points. Iowa fans, including head coach Fran McCaffery, are saying if Dosunmu can play defense when it was considered pointless, then it is ethical for Wieskamp to dunk. Illinois fans argue it was unsportsmanlike to dunk considering they were ahead by an ‘insurmountable deficit,’ according to an Iowa head coach. 

The big question is should players keep playing until the last whistle despite the score. In my opinion I believe fans watch the game to see players go hard for 40 minutes. We deserve to see players play for the entirety of the game. If we were not lazy and stopped playing in the final seconds of the game years ago, these issues would not be arising. We would not consider it unsportsmanlike to play the game in its entirety as we should have been doing all along. You cannot fault a player for giving their 110% for each and every minute of each and every game.

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