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The Boston Globe - column


Massachusetts (#1) 65, St. Bonaventure 52
From The Associated Press, 1/14/1996

Tyrone Weeks, filling in for a hospitalized Marcus Camby, had 15 points and 12 rebounds as top-ranked Massachusetts defeated St. Bonaventure, 65-52, without its star center -- and its coach.

Dana Dingle scored 17 points and Donta Bright added 15 for the Minutemen (14-0, 3-0 Atlantic 10 Conference), who remained one of three unbeaten teams in the country and extended the best start in school history.

In a scary moment, the 6-11 Camby collapsed following pre-game warmups and was taken to Olean General Hospital. Coach John Calipari accompanied the junior center to the hospital and James "Bruiser" Flint coached the team to an easy victory.

Camby is awake and alert and listed in stable condition. Team trainer Ron Laham would not disclose what tests Camby has undergone.

Camby, a National Player of the Year candidate, is averaging 20.9 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3.2 blocks this season. He holds the all-time school record for blocked shots with 250.

The Bonnies (5-7, 1-3) were unable to take advantage of Camby's absence. They fell behind in the first three minutes, trailed 36-27 at halftime and were down by as much as 17 points in the second half.

Kenny McFarland scored 17 points and Jerome Spellman added 10 and 11 rebounds for St. Bonaventure, which has lost 15 in a row to Massachusetts since January 8th, 1989.

Carmelo Travieso scored 10 of his 11 points in the first half, when the Minutemen held the Bonnies to 32 per cent shooting (9-of-28) from the field.

Massachusetts was even tougher in the second half, limiting St. Bonaventure to 25 per cent (8-of-32).


UMass hoop star Camby collapses
By Michael Vega, The Boston Globe Staff, 1/15/1996

Globe correspondent John Anderson contributed to this report.

OLEAN, N.Y. -- Marcus Camby, the best player on the top-ranked University of Massachusetts men's basketball team, was admitted for observation into Olean General Hospital last night, where he remained alert and conscious and in stable condition after collapsing minutes before the tipoff of yesterday's Atlantic 10 conference game against St. Bonaventure.

The episode came just five days after the death of UMass swimmer Greg Menton, who died of cardiac dysrhythmia during a swim meet at Dartmouth Jan. 9.

"All this is a little mind-boggling," said UMass sports information director Bill Strickland. "It's been a rough week. To see Marcus go down like that, there are things running through your mind, and they're not very pleasant things."

UMass coach John Calipari, who missed yesterday's 65-52 victory after he rode in the ambulance and stayed at the hospital with his stricken star, said Camby underwent a battery of tests, which all proved negative, and will undergo more testing this morning before he is released. Camby will join his teammates, who visited him in the hospital yesterday afternoon before busing to Buffalo, where they spent the night, for today's 11 a.m. return flight.

"They've eliminated probably 100 things by doing the tests," said Calipari in a short meeting with the media in the hospital lobby last night. ''They don't have exactly the reason for the collapse and they want to do more tests before they commit to anything. But he will stay overnight for observation.

"He wanted to go back with the team," Calipari added, "but we, along with the physicians at the hospital, encouraged him that it was best for him to stay."

Donna Oehman, the attending emergency room physician, declined to comment on Camby's condition, deferring all questions to UMass officials. UMass trainer Ron Laham, who accompanied Calipari to the hospital, indicated Camby was given an electrocardiogram and a CAT scan.

"Preliminary indications are that both tests went well," Laham said.

Calipari said Camby had been suffering from a chest cold and, according to Laham, was taking some Robitussin cough medicine. During pregame warmups at the Reilly Center, Camby became light-headed and walked off the court on his own. The junior center from Hartford attempted to make his way to the UMass locker room, where the coaches were huddled, when he collapsed in a hallway near the court.

"We were all in the locker room and didn't see it," said a pensive Calipari as he sat with Laham in the waiting area of the hospital's emergency room shortly after Camby's arrival. "Donta Bright came running in and told us to hurry out into the hallway because Marcus had gone down."

"I was standing next to him in the hallway and he was kind of holding his head and the side of his face when he just suddenly fell," said Bright after yesterday's game. "As soon as it happened, I ran out and got word back to one of the coaches and one of the trainers.

"I was scared."

The incident brought to mind the episode two years ago when former UMass guard Mike Williams collapsed on the floor during a game at Cincinnati. After an extensive battery of tests revealed no cardiac problems, Williams was cleared to play two weeks later with doctors saying it was most probably "a common faint in association with a mild respiratory infection and dehydration."

Yesterday, however, no one was willing to make a definitive statement about the reason for Camby's collapse.

"We just know that he's fine now and the preliminary indications are that all the tests went well," said Laham. "He's looking and feeling much better now."

Laham, who credited the quick response of St. Bonaventure's team physician and trainer along with local emergency medical technicians, said when he arrived at Camby's side the player was semiconscious.

"He didn't look too responsive," Laham said. "He looked like he was kind of out there. He didn't recognize us at first, but when we got him to the hospital he came around and recognized Coach Calipari and myself and was alert and conscious. But he looks much better now than when we brought him in."

Mark Belli, an EMT with the Allegheny Volunteer Fire Department, said it took eight men to load the 6-foot-11-inch, 220-pound Camby into the ambulance ''because we didn't want to bend him in any way," he said.

"It usually only takes two or three people to get someone in an ambulance," Belli said. "He was semiconscious and not very alert. Coach Calipari was in the ambulance before we got Camby loaded. He was very nervous and wasn't concerned about the game."

In fact, Camby seemed to be the only person who was concerned about the outcome of the game.

"He was in the CAT scan and he was asking about the score of the game," said nursing supervisor Raye Green. "I told him it was halftime and UMass was up by 9."

After the Minutemen visited Camby in the hospital, Calipari, who stayed in Olean last night along with Laham, evaded reporters by sneaking on and off the team bus to meet with his players. Afterward, the coach reluctantly agreed to make an official statement to the media.

"An incident like this puts things into perspective," said Calipari, who did not tape his weekly television show yesterday as scheduled. "Playing basketball games is not life or death. You're talking about playing basketball. With Marcus right now, I think our team knows that their well- being is more important to me than any basketball game.

"We just hope that, by God's good grace, all these tests turn out negative and he's able to rejoin our team in the near future."


Scene eerily familiar
Calipari flashes back to Williams incident
By Mark Blaudschun, The Boston Globe Staff, 1/15/1996

The scene was eerily familiar for John Calipari. Road game. Things looking normal. Then, all of a sudden, the game his team had come to play is rendered meaningless, its importance wiped out in the instant one of his players drops to the floor.

Some coaches will go through an entire career and not have to worry about anything more than Xs and Os during the game. For Calipari, yesterday was the worst kind of deja vu as he saw center Marcus Camby collapse in the runway leading from the court to the locker room shortly before the University of Massachusetts' game at St. Bonaventure in Olean, N.Y.

Two years ago, Calipari and the Minutemen were playing at the University of Cincinnati. Things were proceeding normally when guard Mike Williams collapsed, almost directly in front of Calipari.

Before you could say time out, Calipari was on the court, his hand on Williams' chest. "All I could think of," said Calipari at the time, "was what happened with Reggie Lewis. Once I felt his heart still beating, I felt a little better."

As it turned out, Williams was suffering from nothing more than respiratory infection and dehydration. But the memory of the collapse and subsequent death of Celtic star Lewis remains etched in everyone's memory, which is the main reason Calipari took a trip to the hospital with Camby yesterday instead of coaching his team.

Coaching is difficult enough without any additional problems. But these are tense times at UMass. The campus is still in a state of shock over swimmer Greg Menton, who collapsed and died during a meet at Dartmouth last week.

Injuries are part of the game, and every coach can adjust to that, as Calipari did when Camby hurt his knee during the Rainbow Classic in Hawaii last month. But those have logical explanations.

When a player seemingly in the prime of health collapses suddenly, the jolt to everyone is enormous. Having it happen to a coach once is tough enough, having it happen twice should entitle Calipari to combat pay at the very least.

As Calipari said again yesterday, such incidents can change your views quickly. "This puts things in the perspective they should be," he said. ''Basketball is not life and death."

Unfortunately, sometimes it is, which is why what happened yesterday was so scary and uncomfortably familiar for Calipari.


Massachusetts Minutemen (#1) 65
St. Bonaventure Bonnies 52
at St. Bonaventure

MASSACHUSETTS (65)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Dingle          38  6-13   5-6   4-7  1  4   17
Bright          37  6-12   3-3   4-8  1  3   15
Norville        13   0-3   1-2   2-5  0  1    1
E Padilla       32   2-6   2-2   0-3  5  4    6
Travieso        40  3-11   2-3   0-3  3  1   11
Weeks           28  5-10   5-6  4-12  0  3   15
Nunez           12   0-1   0-0   1-1  0  1    0
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         200 22-56 18-22 15-39 10 17   65
_______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.393, FT-.818. 3-Point Goals:
3-15, .200 (Bright 0-2, E Padilla 0-4, Travieso
3-9). Team rebounds: 6. Blocked shots: 4
(Norville 2, Bright, Weeks). Turnovers: 8 (E
Padilla 3, Bright 2, Norville, Travieso, Weeks).
Steals: 6 (Travieso 2, Bright, Dingle, Norville,
Weeks).

ST BONAVENTURE (52)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Palmer          20   2-7   4-5   1-1  0  3    8
Spellman        34  4-10   2-6  8-11  0  0   10
Schoone         11   0-0   0-0   0-1  0  2    0
Mcneill         40  2-12   1-2   0-0  4  4    6
A Wills         22   2-7   2-2   0-3  0  1    6
Blackwell       16   1-5   0-0   2-6  0  2    2
Mcfarland       29  5-14   5-6   6-9  2  3   17
Singleton       17   0-2   0-0   0-0  1  2    0
Shelton         11   1-3   1-2   2-5  0  2    3
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         200 17-60 15-23 19-36  7 19   52
_______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.283, FT-.652. 3-Point Goals:
3-17, .176 (Palmer 0-1, Mcneill 1-5, A Wills 0-3,
Mcfarland 2-7, Singleton 0-1). Team rebounds: 3.
Blocked shots: 3 (Spellman, Mcfarland,
Singleton). Turnovers: 8 (Palmer 3, Blackwell 2,
A Wills, Mcneill, Spellman). Steals: 4 (Mcneill
2, Mcfarland, Palmer).
__________________________________
Massachusetts      36   29  -   65
St Bonaventure     27   25  -   52
__________________________________
Technical fouls: Massachusetts 1 ().  A: 6,000.
Officials: Daniel Cahill, Tom Corbin, Dick Paparo.

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