It was hard to hear above the jeers, but about five minutes into Saturday’s game, a familiar phrase – from a familiar fan – came out of the student section at Cameron Indoor Stadium:
“Miss it, Deon!"
Brian King – the Presbyterian supporter who now infamously got booted out of the Smith Center last December after screaming those words at North Carolina senior Deon Thompson during the Tar Heels blowout victory – was on the front row with the Cameron Crazies, cheering on the Blue Devils during Duke’s 82-50 blowout win. He was invited, he said, by the students.
“I had a lot of people reach out to me after what happened and now that time has passed, this just looked like fun,’’ he said.
King, who is from Concord, attended Presbyterian but grew up a Duke fan; his family even had season tickets to games, “although this is a lot better seat,’’ he said, smiling.
He said he has “absolutely no hard feelings” towards UNC or Tar Heels coach Roy Williams, over the incident – during which Williams heard King yelling about 20 rows behind the Tar Heels bench, and instructed security to see if King had tickets to that section. King was then ejected, UNC’s department of public safety later said, because officers believed he was intoxicated – although King denied that claim.
Williams has said he didn’t know King had been booted out of the arena after the game, which UNC won by double figures. The coach, though, has caught plenty of guff from rival fans who believe he was responsible for have King ejected.
Months later, King said, “The whole thing is something everyone can laugh about now.”
Although he admits he was glad to see Thompson miss the first of his two free throw attempts, cutting UNC’s deficit only to eight.