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."
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
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.