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FROM BIG MAC TO SIMAC
Cedric Henderson's tumultuous fling with college basketball (SCORECARD, Feb. 25) came to an end last week when the 6'9" University of Georgia sophomore signed a one-year contract with Simac of the Italian league for an estimated $125,000. The 19-year-old forward will reportedly get the use of a car and an apartment. "The system just drove him out of here," says his attorney, Edward Tolley. "He's been on an unbelievable rollercoaster ride."
The thrills began in 1980, when as an eighth-grader in Lithia Springs, Ga. Henderson was wooed by a Tennessee high school coach who became his foster father. But Henderson had eligibility problems and returned home. As a junior at Marietta High, he took the team to a state championship and became the pawn in a recruiting war. He committed to Louisville but then switched to Georgia. Frustrated, he withdrew from Marietta in his senior year, signed with Carson-Newman College in Tennessee and graduated from an alternative high school in Atlanta. In December he finally went to Georgia.
With Henderson averaging 15.5 points and 7.1 rebounds a game, the Bulldogs finished second in the Southeastern Conference. But in May the NCAA put the school on one year's probation for nine recruiting violations and declared Henderson ineligible for having accepted a ride from Bulldog coach Hugh Durham.
Georgia appealed, and on Aug. 6 Henderson's eligilibity was restored. That same day he learned he would be academically ineligible for basketball during the fall semester. Tolley feared that Henderson would be ineligible for the winter term, too. "Cedric could not maintain the discipline to go to class," says Tolley. "All he really wanted to do was play basketball." So Henderson struck the deal to play in Italy.
The official version of events was that New England Patriots wide receiver Derwin Williams sat out last season after suffering a concussion in the final exhibition game against Kansas City. But now Williams has told The Boston Globe that he never suffered a concussion. He says that he faked one on instructions from Ron Meyer, the head coach at the time.
According to Williams, he had just caught a pass and was standing on the sideline when Meyer grabbed him by the arm. "His eyes were bugging out of his head," Williams says. "He kept saying, 'You're going in on the kickoff. I want you to hit somebody, then fall down. You're going to get a concussion. We'll send the doctors in to get you."
At first Williams figured Meyer wanted him to fake an injury in order to stop the clock. But, Williams contends, it turned out that Meyer wanted to stash him on injured reserve rather than cut him and lose him to another club, a once common practice in the NFL. Players call it "going on scholarship."