A North Carolina State University basketball star proved to be a hero on and off the court this weekend.
Shortly after the team defeated top-ranked Duke, the crowd immediately rushed onto the court in celebration. As fans poured from the stands to the basketball court, wheelchair-user Will Privette was knocked to the ground.
He said the school’s student body president rolled him onto the Wolfpack floor to join in the victory celebration.
“I told him that I wanted to do it, so we did it,” Privette explained.
He said that he was recording the team’s victory on his cell phone and before he knew it he was out of his chair.
“My phone went flying out of my hand, and my glasses flew off my face,” Privette recalled. “Naturally, I tried to get my phone back before I worried about myself. I started worrying, ‘OK, this is not going to end well at all.”
However, N.C. State forward C.J. Leslie spotted Privette on the ground and quickly came to his aid. Leslie was a standout during the game scoring 25 points in his team’s 84-75 win against the Blue Devils.
“I looked down and he was there and he was covering up his face, and I was like, ‘Oh wow, I got to save him.’ Something came over me ‘You got to do something about this,’” he thought.
When Leslie made his way through the crowd he was surprised to find that Privette was still in celebration mode rather than traumatized.
“I was originally going to put him back in his chair. But when he got in my arms, he started cheering, so I was like, “Wow,’ so I just kept cheering with him.” Leslie said. “It was about a good three or four minutes where he was in my arms, and we started cheering together. After that, I had to put him down because my arm was getting a little tired.”
Privette was born without a tibia and with other leg abnormalities and has been in a wheelchair all of his life.
The senior communications major is a passionate Wolfpack fan who has not missed a N.C. State basketball game this season.