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Florida State’s Wyatt Wilkes doesn’t believe Syracuse star Buddy Boeheim should be suspended after Boeheim’s apparent punch to Wilkes’ mid-section at the ACC Tournament on Wednesday.
Boeheim was hit with a one-game suspension hours after the game for what the ACC called a “flagrant act,” forcing him to miss Thursday’s quarterfinal against Duke at Barclays Center.
Wilkes addressed the situation in a YouTube video on Wednesday and said he “didn’t think anything of it,” while discussing Boheheim’s actions during the first half of the Orange’s second-round game. Syracuse rolled to a 96-57 victory over Florida State to set up the Duke matchup.
“I don’t think he should be suspended personally,” Wilkes said in the video, adding that he and Buddy are on “good” terms. “That’s just me. I’m not part of the league, doing a review or whatever. Everyone can have their own opinion. I don’t think he should be suspended.
“Why, Wyatt? Why do you think that? I think that because I’ve been hit with about 30 elbows in my career that were a whole lot worse than that one. I think he felt like I cracked down on him a little hard on the box out. I think the play was clean, but I did box out hard. I didn’t want him getting that rebound. You get angry. If you’re going to give me something, I’ll give you something back. It’s basketball. Anyone who has played Division I basketball sees that.”
Wilkes continued, “In all honesty, I didn’t think anything of it after the fact. I didn’t even know this was a thing until someone told me. It wasn’t really that big of a deal. I’ve been punched. I’ve been punched in the face. He didn’t really punch me. He threw his arm out. We were both unlucky it caught me in the right spot and knocked the wind out of me for a second. After that I was fine.”
In the description of his video, Wilkes said he “has no hard feelings toward Buddy.”
Boeheim said in a statement that he spoke to Wilkes after the incident and that the two were cordial.
“In the heat of today’s game, after some shoving in the lane, I swung my arm while turning to go back up court,” Boeheim said Wednesday. “It was wrong to act out in frustration. I apologized to Wyatt Wilkes multiple times in the handshake line. He said not to worry about it, but I know I was wrong. I pride myself in respecting the game and our opponent. I will not react that way again.”
Boeheim — who leads the ACC in scoring at 19.3 points per game — could spend the last game of his college career on the bench if Duke beats Syracuse on Thursday.