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A Crucial Timeout
Rick Reilly
November 20, 2000
Look at the Player of the Year, scrubbing his hands like a surgeon—50,100 times a day. How can the best athlete in school, the most handsome, with a 4.15 GPA, have such filthy hands?
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November 20, 2000

A Crucial Timeout

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So why doesn't he drive his moped to Walgreens? Why does he end up back at his dorm room, vacant-eyed? What leads a female friend to find the letter a week later, in his journal? After only a half page she races to call Julian's brother, who calls his parents, who calls their son, who, with work, finds a way not just to stay alive but to live.

Look at him today, tight with his God. He's writing a book about his life and his faith, speaking to groups around the state, running a prison ministry's basketball games and working with kids who have OCD. He's taking this hoops season off, this school year off.

Yeah, he found a way to fight OCD: by helping 10 kids who have it. Make it 11—he helps himself the most. He talks of next year, of rejoining the Badgers. His best friend, Greg Monfre, worries about what the vice of big-time college basketball could do to him. "All it takes is one small incident," Monfre says.

"I'm keeping it under control this time," says Julian, now 20. He promises he will finally make the game fun, play for himself, dirty his hands and let them stay that way.

Look at Julian Swartz. He wants so badly to get better. Pray he doesn't spin back.

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