NC State

Wheelchair court-stormer OK, says 'It was worth it'

Posted January 12, 2013
Updated January 14, 2013

— Although C.J. Leslie's performance during NC State's 84-76 win over Duke will likely get much of the attention on Tobacco Road in the coming days, a post-game assist by Leslie and others that helped keep a wheelchair-bound student who had rushed the court safe probably deserves equal play. 

That student, senior Will Privette, said he knew he would be part of the celebration following the Wolfpack's triumph. He just wasn't sure how.   NC State upends Duke, 84-76 Slideshow: NC State upends Duke, 84-76

"Two years ago when we beat Duke, I rushed the court," he said. "But I waited for the first round of people to go. That was my original plan today, just to do that."

As the end of the game neared, however, PNC Arena staff and others asked Privette if he wanted to be at the front of the line. 

"Student body president Andy Walsh asked me if I wanted him to push me," he said. "As soon as the buzzer rang, we rushed."

Shortly after, as Privette and Walsh neared the jump circle, Privette's wheelchair was knocked over by the crowd. He went tumbling, and found himself at the bottom of a pile of happy Wolfpack fans for "what seemed like forever."

Privette wasn't hurt, but he was worried, and said he kept his arms over his face to protect his glasses.

"I was worried about my glasses and my phone, as sad as that is," Privette said. 

Leslie, who had been busy celebrating with the crowd, eventually saw Privette and told everyone to get back. The junior forward swooped in, picked up Privette and proceeded to hold him "like a baby" while the crowd continued to celebrate. 

“I just saw him there and people were surging in around him,” said Leslie, who scored a game-high 25 points in the game. “I knew it could end up a bad situation.”

Privette said he had no thoughts of leaving the court before the celebration was over.

"Once he had me, I was like 'Let's go," Privette said. "It was the dumbest thing I've done since I've been in college, but it was worth it. Sports is my life."

Privette, who has been in a wheelchair his entire life, said leg deformities he had at birth forced him to have his leg amputated at 6 years old. He does statistical analysis for NC State's baseball team and will graduate in May.

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  • packfan07 Jan 15, 7:17 a.m.

    Biggest win in 30 years for State basketball...since you haven't had that experience in 30 years... View More

    — Posted by CAROLINA43

    With all the scandal going on in Chapel Hill, and all of the positive press on the Wolfpack I can understand the UNC obsession of State.

  • tlesley4ncsu Jan 14, 8:52 p.m.

    And kudos to Coach K...he did not try to upstage the Wolfpack's day by leaving the court early ala Roy "I am so dadgum special" Williams vs FSU last year.

  • Luv2Kayak Jan 14, 6:44 p.m.

    Great moves, CJ! Both during and after the game.

  • dUNCe Jan 14, 1:49 p.m.

    From a Duke fan I just wanted to say congradulations on the win and I'm glad to see that wheelchair guy is OK. This is gonna be a fun year for Duke and State.

  • Leave it to Beaver Reruns Jan 14, 12:36 p.m.

    Biggest win in 30 years for State basketball...since you haven't had that experience in 30 years... View More

    — Posted by CAROLINA43

    how was that the biggest win for State in 30 years? First off, impossible, being that April 1983 was less than 30 years ago. Second, State was picked to win the league by the writers and coaches, and they just won a home game. Third, it wasn't the first, or will be the last time they beat a number 1 team.

  • NCSU84 Jan 14, 11:20 a.m.

    The cynics can stuff it.

    Privette will remember this day for the rest of his life.

    Kudos to the... View More

    — Posted by ncst8mpa

    +1

  • CAROLINA43 Jan 14, 10:56 a.m.

    Biggest win in 30 years for State basketball...since you haven't had that experience in 30 years or know what it means to act like you've been there, I can see why you all would rush the court.

  • cmarkstevens Jan 14, 10:39 a.m.

    Will, I am jealous that I wasn't in the PNC arena Saturday. I think he is crazy for what he did, but I have done some crazy, risky stuff in my days. CJ, good look.

    Wish we hadn't of rushed, though. We belong with the likes of Duke and other top programs.

  • Knightwolf Jan 14, 10:13 a.m.

    to those that may be concerned about Will's fragility, he's a pretty tuff kid. My son and Will were in middle school together and I have seen Will playing catch in front of the dugout with the players at many Carolina Mudcats baseball games. Will is a HUGE Wolfpack fan. :)

  • Captain_Vlad Jan 13, 5:36 p.m.

    What a ride for a young man that never would have dreamed he'd have the day and possibly the experience of his still young life yesterday. Will, is going to go down in the NCSU book of legends all because of his passion for Wolfpack sports.

    Major props to you and also to the nice family who saw to it that his wheelchair was repaired. There are some awesome Wolfpack fans out there!

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