- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
The Villanova coaches checked me into the George Washington Lodge in King of Prussia. My roommate was Warren Martin, who ended up going to North Carolina. We had a wake-up call for eight the next morning, so this wasn't a night for wild partying. Still, I did go outside the hotel, by myself, and got high. I had brought some reefer from home and didn't approach Warren because I didn't think he was into it.
The next night I saw what Villanova could be like. The whole atmosphere was incredible. Women. Parties. Some guys on the team took me to a disco in Philly. I went out in a car and got high with one of the players. Later that night after we got back to the campus, I remember another of the players, Stewart Granger, telling me, "You know, if you come to this school, there's only one thing we want to get here. And that's the ring." He was the first one who mentioned a championship. Not of the Big East, but of the NCAA.
By the time we were done partying, I knew I was coming to Villanova. I met with Coach Mass the next morning. We watched a game film, toured Philly and the Spectrum, and I flew back to Boston.
A couple of weeks later, Coach Mass visited my home in Hempstead. Before I signed, we had a little meeting. Me, my mother, Coach Donlon and Coach Mass. "I caught Gary smoking reefer a couple of times," Coach Donlon told Coach Mass, "and I don't think he's going to do it again."
"We won't tolerate that at Villanova," Coach Mass told me. "You're not going to ruin our program. We work too hard."
His words bounced right off me. I would do what I wanted to do. That was my problem. I wouldn't listen. I didn't think he would have the nerve to kick me off the team. In any case, I thought I could hide it. There was no way anybody would find out.
So, on Nov. 8, 1980, I signed a letter of intent to play at Villanova. My mother and Coach Donlon signed with me, as parent and guardian. Villanova misspelled my name on the letter, "McClain." But I would take care of that later. I was a 6'1", 175-pound all-state point guard. I would let people know who I was.
Ed Pinckney and I roomed together freshman year. The window of our room in Sullivan Hall looked out over the quad, straight across to Sheehan Hall, the girls' dorm. Dwayne McClain, Ed and I called ourselves the Expansion Crew. We thought we would change the whole campus scene. We said to ourselves, This is our world now.
We all liked each other's styles and we thought we could mesh together. On the court and off After pickup games, Ed, Dwayne and I would go to the cafeteria. Everybody would turn their heads. We knew they were talking about us. It's a special feeling. All my life, being an athlete made me different, and now we were being treated like kings and we were the type of people who would enjoy that.
We skipped the orientation sessions the first night at school, figuring only the geeks would walk around with orientation counselors. We were on the basketball team. We didn't have to do that stuff. We just hung out.