Coach's sideline defense goes viral
NORCROSS, Ga. - Some basketball coaches scream at officials. Some lose their minds over a key mistake. One notably threw a chair across the court. Few, however, play defense.
"I had no way of knowing the outcome would be what it became," said Johnson High School head coach Utaff Gordon.
Gordon's Johnson High School boys basketball team played Greater Atlanta Christian on Wednesday night in Norcross, a game his team lost as the Spartans advanced to the Class 3A state semifinals against Morgan County.
What may be remembered most from that game was a moment as a GAC player tried to inbound the ball, standing near Johnson High School's bench. It was at that moment that Gordon, known as an energetic coach, put his hands high in the air and bounced up and down, exactly like a player on the court would do; only, he was coaching. The Spartans player ended up lobbing the ball over Gordon's outstretched arms.
The video quickly took off on social media, racking up tens of thousands of views.
"The minute I got to school, everybody's saying, 'you're on a video and it's going viral!'" said Gordon.
At Greater Atlanta Christian's practice on Thursday, they had a similar experience.
"A lot of friends you haven't heard from in a while texting you, [saying] 'is that really you?'" said GAC junior Hunter McIntosh, the player who was trying to inbound the ball over the opposing coach.
Gordon is an accomplished coach, leading his team to a state championship in 2013.
"I don't think their coach meant it bad," said GAC head coach David Eaton. "It's just a funny sports story. You don't see that a lot."
The big question seems to be: can he actually do that? Combing through the high school basketball rulebook, it seems to be at the discretion of the referees: they can issue a technical foul if they feel an opposing coach is showing poor sportsmanship, but it does not specifically address getting in the way of an inbounds pass.
Gordon, however, says he does it all the time.
"Actually, you can!" said Gordon. "As long as you don't interfere with the ball, and as long as you don't talk to the opposing player. So what I do, is I talk loud enough to my players where it gets on the nerves of the opposing player. In other words, I try to circumvent the rules."