Looking back at
how I lost weight and caught colds all the time, it occurs to me: If I had been
someone else looking at me, I would have known I was on cocaine. I wonder what
would have happened if I'd been stopped. Now I wish Coach Mass had tested me
then, or gotten me some help, or something. But, of course, I can't blame Coach
Mass or anybody else for what I went through. I only blame myself.
The final blow
that season—blow as in loss and blow as in coke—came early in the NCAA
tournament. We were in Milwaukee for the first and second rounds, and a player
I knew at another school got me cocaine whenever I wanted it. After practices I
would find my friend and get high.
I was hanging out
all night in my hotel room, getting high. We got sniffed-up until early in the
morning, and then I had to practice the next day. Drabby and tired, I wasn't
effective. My concentration was poor. Guys were blowing right by me. In the
first round of the tournament we beat Marshall 84-72. I had five points, three
assists, four fouls. Then, two days later, we lost 64-56 to Illinois. I missed
three shots from the floor and didn't score the whole game. My tournament
performance was the worst on the team. I was torn and worn and couldn't wait
for the end of the term.
By senior year
the girl I was seeing had become worried about me. She kept telling me I had a
problem and tried to get a mutual friend to convince me of it. I insisted I
would stop, but I did cocaine whenever I had a chance.
I had stopped
selling, because I was in massive debt from doing too much of our inventory.
But I did start free-basing. I knew a guy who hung around the gym, a guy Coach
Mass used to ask me about because he didn't like the way he looked. This guy
had already been getting me reefer, and before the season started he introduced
me to free-basing. He came by the room one night, woke me up and asked if I
wanted to try it. "Sure," I said. That was my attitude. I'd heard about
it; I'd try it.
I was adventurous
when it came to drugs. I would never stick a needle in my arm, but I liked
trying new things. My warped concept of reality said, I'll try this and it'll
be all right. And I liked it. So I started free-basing whenever I had the
chance. I used to call the guy Jiffy Pop because he was so good at cooking up
I went on a
free-basing binge that lasted a couple of months. I tended to get really mad at
myself, wondering if I was addicted, breaking my pipe a couple of times in
frustration. Then I'd just find another pipe. There was always a way back
because I was addicted.
Friends talked to
me about stopping. I was looking really bad again. But at this point I didn't
care what my peers said. Every now and then I'd do cocaine. All the time I had
my pot. Before the season, during the season, whatever. I did cocaine before
the Pennsylvania game at the Palestra on Dec. 15. They were a flop team in the
Big Five, and I figured I didn't have to be fresh for that game, so why not do
some? We won 80-67, and I scored four points. Again, before a game with
Georgetown, I did some cocaine. In the locker room I was real quiet, just
laying back. Usually, I was loud, getting everybody together. My mood had
changed drastically. I played 39 minutes against Georgetown without scoring a
point. We lost 52-50 in overtime.
We played some of
our best basketball on the way to the Final Four in Lexington. Of course, I did
drugs, too, during the championship drive. Out of nowhere, an old college
friend, a guy I used to get high with, showed up in Dayton, where we were
playing our first NCAA tournament game. I had known this guy since freshman
year. He said he would follow us as far as we went.
My friend arrived
at the Final Four with a fresh supply of cocaine. Before the semifinals against
Memphis State, he gave me a gram for afterward. But I wanted to do some right
then, before the game. Yet I was thinking, This is the Final Four. There's no
way I'm going to do this.