UMass faces St. Bonaventure in 'hostile' territory
By Frank Dell'Apa, The Boston Globe Staff, 1/12/1996
Top 25 roundup
Material from Associated Press was used in this report.
John Calipari knows what to expect when the University of Massachusetts travels to Olean, N.Y., to meet St. Bonaventure Sunday.
“We know it's going to be tough,” Calipari said. “We have to go through Russia to get there.”
In fact, this is among the least glamorous trips the Minutemen make. They will fly to Buffalo, then take a two-hour bus ride to Olean. They will be greeted in a cozy gymnasium by a partisan crowd and a generic St. Bonaventure team that will likely be in an overachieving mode. Victory against UMass these days brings credibility, even to a team with a 4-5 record.
“Every game is a challenge for us,” UMass center Marcus Camby said after Wednesday's 94-89 overtime win over St. Joseph's. “Being No. 1, we know a lot of teams are gunning for us. We can't get caught on our heels.”
UMass has certainly become a target this season. And, though the Minutemen appear to have fewer offensive weapons than a year ago, opponents are struggling to solve their attack.
In the last two games, Camby has been afforded single coverage and scored 38 points against Dayton and 34 against St. Joseph's. That seems an illogical way to contend with UMass' most dynamic performer.
Calipari predicted that if the strategy persisted, Camby would score at least 35 per game.
“However they want to play us is fine,” Calipari said. “If they double-team Marcus, we'll be all right because he is a good passer and he is so unselfish.”
This season is also developing into a farewell tour for Camby, who could be the No. 1 NBA draft choice should he decide to depart UMass. He appears to be enjoying even the prospect of a trip to upstate New York and is thriving on the attention and hostility of away venues.
Camby is simply playing at a higher level than most UMass opponents. St. Joseph's had three starters standing at least 6 feet 8 inches, but Camby outplayed them all, with help from Inus Norville and Tyrone Weeks.
Camby's height and quickness also opened the court for Edgar Padilla and Carmelo Travieso. And the UMass guards capitalized by converting seven 3- pointers. They also pressured the St. Joseph's guards, who responded with some spectacular shooting but finally faltered in overtime.
Though this was among the worst defensive games of the season for the Minutemen, they seemed confident throughout – even when they were missing six of their final 11 foul shots.
“You can either play not to lose or you can play to win,” Calipari said. “When you play not to lose, you lose.”
Awakened UMass may mean lights out for Bonnies
By Michael Vega, The Boston Globe Staff, 1/14/1996
BUFFALO, N.Y. – Now they know what can happen. Now they know you can't sleepwalk through practice, then show up at an opponent's gym and expect the opposition to roll over and play dead because you're the nation's No. 1
college basketball team. After surviving a 94-89 overtime scare at St. Joseph's last Wednesday night, the University of Massachusetts Minutemen were doused with this sobering bit of reality: It just doesn't work that way.
No matter who or what you are.
That explains why UMass coach John Calipari has consistently drilled his team with the notion that there has to be an investment of sweat equity – particularly in practice – to remain undefeated and atop the polls.
“The two workouts we had last week weren't very good,” admitted Calipari, whose team made a two-hour bus trip yesterday to the snowbound, somnambulent little burg of Olean, N.Y., to engage St. Bonaventure in another Atlantic 10 conference matchup. “We tried to get through it and faked that we were working hard. When we usually have a good practice, we'll kill someone. But when we don't have a good practice, we're just trying to get by.”
It showed last Wednesday night, when the Hawks extended UMass into overtime before bowing to junior forward Marcus Camby, who finished with 34 points, 9 rebounds and 5 blocked shots. Camby, a consensus preseason All- America pick and national Player of the Year candidate, needs 16 points today (2 p.m., SportsChannel) to reach the 1,000-point mark for his career.
To avoid a repeat of that scare – and the one UMass survived in last year's visit to Olean, when the then-No. 1 Minutemen posted an 81-76 overtime victory – Calipari put his team through the paces in a practice Thursday afternoon in Philadelphia. The team flew to Buffalo Friday evening, where it conducted a final practice yesterday at the University of Buffalo.
So how did it go?
“We had great workouts,” Calipari said. “I thought Thursday's was one of the best workouts we've had. I think we'll come ready to play. We've worked hard on all the areas where we needed to get better. But that game at St. Joe's was a great teaching tool because when we watched the tape we could easily see why we didn't play as well. Now we've refocused.”
That could mean trouble for the Bonnies. Big trouble.
St. Bonaventure (5-6, 1-2) is coming off a costly 57-50 conference victory at Fordham in which 6-foot-8-inch freshman power forward Terrence Durham suffered a sprained left knee while taking a charge in the early going.
“He's going to be out for two weeks,” said St. Bonaventure coach Jim Baron. “I don't know how it's going to impact our team because we've been juggling our lineups all season long. But we definitely lose a physical, front-line player with Terrence being out.”
In addition to Durham, the Bonnies will be without two other starters: freshman guard David Capers, who was lost for the season when he broke his right wrist Dec. 23, and Sidney Shelton, a 6-7 senior forward and co-captain who has been hampered by a left thigh strain. To make matters worse, the top-ranked Minutemen be at full strength and fully aware of what can happen in the event of a lapse.
“Seeing how they lost the starters they did last year, it seems like UMass is playing with a lot more fire,” Baron said. “They seem hungrier this year. It seems this year they pay attention to all the details. They're a good basketball team. They've got great athletes and they've got good balance with their strength inside and outside. They've got a lot of good things going for them right now.”
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 wellbeing 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.
Minutemen keep winning, unbeaten streak hits 17
By Candice Flemming and Justin C. Smith, The Massachusetts Daily Collegian Staff, January 30, 1996 (first publication after winter break)
The Minutemen entered the break with a perfect 6-0 record and future tough matchups against the likes of No. 21 Georgia Tech, No. 13 Syracuse and No. 3 Memphis. But the Minutemen continued their winning ways, running their unbeaten record to 17-0. Here’s a recap of UMass' games over the break.
Massachusetts 65, St. Bonaventure 52
Jan. 14 at the Reilly Center
The outcome of this game was overshadowed by the collapse of Camby, which left many of the Minutemen in tears. But the players pulled themselves together and came away with the victory.
Weeks led the way, scoring a career-high 15 points and grabbing a career-high 12 boards to finish with his first double-double of the season. Dingle scored a game-high 17 points while Bright added 16. Three first half three-pointers by Travieso (11 points) helped the Minutemen take a lead they would never relinquish.
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.