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news19881228_herndon_plans_umass_future

News article: Allderdice grad Herndon plans future at UMass

Allderdice grad Herndon plans future at UMass
By Kelly Carter, The Pittsburgh Press, 12/28/1988

William Herndon watched with more than passing interest the University of Richmond's progress in the NCAA tournament last season.

As he watched the Spiders upset defending champion Indiana and defeat Georgia Tech before losing to Temple in the third round, Herndon envisioned being a key part of the 1988-89 team as a freshman.

But those plans went sour for Herndon, a member of The Pittsburgh Press Finest Five last season and one of the top players in Western Pennsylvania.

Herndon, who scored more than 1,000 points and grabbed more than 1,000 rebounds in his career at Allderdice, left Richmond last month and will transfer to the University of Massachusetts for the winter semester. He will become eligible in January, 1990 and will have 2½ years of eligibility remaining.

Herndon said the main reason for transferring was Richmond wasn't the same team he watched during the NCAA tournament.

“At the time I thought it was going to be a good school for me,” said Herndon, who is home for the holidays. “I figured I could get some playing time and a good education at the same time but as it worked out, educationally it is a good school but the playing time was the problem.”

In seven games with Richmond, Herndon played 45 minutes and had nine points and six rebounds.

Herndon was surprised with the slower pace of Richmond's offense.

“The style of play that they were playing down there, I wasn't used to,” Herndon said. “It's real basic. It seemed like last year they played a much faster tempo.”

Richmond had only three players graduate from last season's team and starts two seniors, two juniors, and a sophomore this season.

“I knew I wasn't going to start,” Herndon said. “I had figured I had to beat whoever was in front of me out of the position.”

Allderdice Coach Howard Bullard visited Herndon in Richmond during the Spiders' Thanksgiving tournament, as did Herndon's family.

“They knew by the look on my face that I wasn't happy,” Herndon said.

Herndon was also dissatisfied with the social life at Richmond.

“It wasn't what I expected,” Herndon said. “Everybody was to themselves.”

“It's a beautiful place, but socially he felt it was very limited for him,” Bullard said. “It was just a different environment for him, being down in the south, that he just couldn't adjust to.”

Bullard said the University of Massachusetts, with an enrollment of 19,000, should be better suited to Herndon than Richmond, a private university with an undergraduate enrollment of 2,700.

It was after taking his final examinations three weeks ago that Herndon decided to transfer.

“Me and Coach B (Bullard) just sat down and talked about where I wanted to go next,” Herndon said. “We were throwing some schools up in the air.”

One of those schools which came up during the discussion was Massachusetts, which hired John Calipari to replace Ron Gerlufsen. Calipari, known for his recruiting accomplishments as an assistant to Pitt Coach Paul Evans, recruited Herndon for Pitt.

“I felt comfortable around him (Calipari) because he knows the style of basketball I like to play,” Herndon said. “I had called cal and told him I wanted to visit and he got me up there. I liked the environment.”

Herndon knows two players at Massachusetts - Jim McCoy, a freshman guard and Central Catholic graduate, and John Tate, a sophomore forward and Penn Hills graduate.

McCoy and Herndon had planned on attending Richmond together. Herndon gave a verbal commitment commitment in February, about two months before the national signing date, but McCoy signed with Massachusetts after Calipari became its head coach.

Herndon said it won't be difficult sitting out for a year.

“I was basically sitting out down there too.”

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