B. Williams to be discharged

August 14, 1992|By Los Angeles Times

REDONDO BEACH, Calif. -- Brian Williams, a 1991 first-round pick of the Orlando Magic, was expected to be released today from South Bay Medical Center after collapsing during a summer league basketball game.

Williams, a star at the University of Arizona and University of Maryland, was undergoing a series of tests to determine why he collapsed during a Southern California Summer Pro Basketball game on Tuesday. The family is not allowing any information to be released about his diagnosis or condition.

Doctors did say that "all parties involved agree, however, that until further evaluations have taken place in Orlando, Brian will not participate in any official drills or workouts."

A source close to the family told the Los Angeles Times that the focal point of the testing is his heart. The Orlando Sentinel, in yesterday's editions, quoted an unnamed source as saying the diagnosis was an irregular heartbeat. Wednesday evening, Williams was moved to the floor on which the cardiac care unit is located. Williams' condition was not thought to be life-threatening.

"The kid is going to be fine," said Joe Weakley, coach of the NBA Pros, the team Williams was playing for when he collapsed. "One of the first things he said this morning was, 'I didn't want to be another Hank Gathers.' It was scary, but now everyone is relieved."

Don Sellers, an assistant director of the summer league, said: "I was at the game that Hank Gathers went down and ... Tuesday night was just like that revisited."

Gathers, a Loyola Marymount basketball star, collapsed during a West Coast Conference tournament game March 4, 1990, and was pronounced dead about 90 minutes later at Daniel Freeman Marina Hospital. Gathers' cause of death was listed as cardiomyopathy, a heart disorder.

Claud Mills, the father of Arizona player Chris Mills, watched Williams collapse. "When he ran down the court, he just ran up on the goal and kind of leaned over on the padding and then he went to the floor. ... I saw him clutch his heart and he was really shaking before he fell."

Weakley said he jumped off the bench and called a timeout. Weakley and Williams' mother, Patricia Philips, attended to Williams until the paramedics arrived.

"As far as I know he was alert when the paramedics arrived," Weakley said. "He was talking at the hospital."

Williams, the 10th pick in the 1991 draft, had a difficult first year with the Magic. He signed late and had trouble learning the system.

Midway through the season he started to play better but was sidelined because of a broken thumb. He finished the season strong despite starting only a few games.

Williams, who is 6 feet 11 and 250 pounds, averaged 9.1 points and 5.7 rebounds last season.

Williams has been busy during the offseason. He spent part of his time riding a bicycle from Salt Lake City to Las Vegas. He later flew to France and watched parts of the Tour de France, where he rode his bicycle over many of the same locations.

He then participated in the Running of the Bulls during the Fiesta of San Fermin at Pamplona, Spain.

About a month ago, Williams showed up at the Magic's free-agent summer league camp out of shape.

"He is not in real good shape right now," Magic assistant coach Brian Hill told the Orlando Sentinel. "He's got a lot of work to do the rest of the summer. ... Right now, he needs all the work he can get."

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