Washington high school basketball game goes viral because of fouls

A video of a high school basketball game from eastern Washington in which extremely rough fouls take place has gone viral – and, as a result, two of the teenage players are being vilified online for their play.

The video on YouTube has received more than 33,000 page views so far. The game between Connell and Highland high schools was held at Connell, Wash., near Yakima, on Dec. 22.

The video shows a number of extremely hard fouls by Connell’s Cole Vanderbilt and Kennan VanHollebeke.  Vanderbilt received most of the criticism; One website, guyism.com, called Vanderbilt “the dirtiest basketball player in America.”

The video was posted by Michael Christenson of Yakima, who has a nephew who attends Highland High. Christenson told the Tri-City Herald on Wednesday that he wasn't expecting the video to go viral. The video has been linked by Yahoo! Sports and Deadspin.

After Christenson uploaded the video to Facebook, he transferred it to YouTube.  To see the video, click here.

The video has drawn harsh criticisms online.

“(No.) 34 (Vanderbilt) is trash. Brutally rough and destroys¿ the game,” one poster wrote.

"(No.) 34 looks like a football player. He doesn't seem to be any asset to the team other than to beat down players on the other team," wrote another.

Vanderbilt has taken the negative attention to heart, but his team has rallied to support him, said Connell coach Oscar Garza.

"He's a tough kid, but those that know him know he's a teddy bear," Garza told the Tricity Herald. "My 7-year-old son loves him and lights up when he's around. But on (YouTube) he's the world's meanest, ugliest kid. It's not fair, but I just want him to know his teammates and coaches are behind him."

The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association released a statement Thursday afternoon about the video.

"WIAA statement concerning the Connell-Highland Basketball game that was played on Dec. 22nd:  The WIAA is currently working with the two schools, officials and Washington Officials Association on the situation. The WIAA has the utmost concern for the safety of the student-athletes and the welfare of the game."