Gugliotta gives Corchiani assist College teammate aids newest Bullet

January 19, 1993|By Alan Goldstein | Alan Goldstein,Staff Writer

Chris Corchiani arrived in Washington last weekend to discover there was no hotel room in town because of all the pre-inauguration galas for Bill Clinton.

So, Corchiani, who had just agreed to a 10-day contract with the Washington Bullets, called on an old college friend, moving in with Tom Gugliotta, his North Carolina State teammate.

No one knows how long their reunion will last, but Gugliotta says he will do everything possible to help Corchiani extend his trial period.

For three years at Raleigh, it was Gugliotta who benefited from the deft passes of Corchiani, the NCAA's all-time assists leader (1,038).

Now, Gugliotta, one of the NBA's top rookies, wants to give Corchiani an assist in staying a pro after twice being cut by the Orlando Magic.

"Chris will do a great job for us if he gets a chance," said Gugliotta, who was overshadowed by Corchiani and high-scoring backcourt partner Rodney Monroe during his first three college seasons.

"Chris took me under his wing. He's everything a point guard should be. He was a great leader and made everyone else on the floor better. Both [Jim] Valvano and [Les] Robinson gave him almost total control in calling our plays. He was like having another coach on the floor."

Although there is a scarcity of true playmakers in the NBA, Corchiani slipped to the second round of the 1991 NBA draft before being selected by the Magic.

As a rookie, he was competing against veterans Scott Skiles and Sam Vincent and was cut in training camp. He signed and played with the Raleigh Bullfrogs of the Global Basketball Association before the Magic recalled him in January.

"I didn't have a lot of confidence my rookie year," said Corchiani, a stocky 6-foot-1 guard who averaged 5.0 points and 2.8 assists. "I really worked on my shooting and defense last summer."

It helped Corchiani win a roster spot, but he was again released in December when the Magic, seeking more outside scoring, obtained shooting guard Steve Kerr from the Cleveland Cavaliers.

"That kind of surprised me," Corchiani said. "I was playing solid defense and shooting 56 percent from the field. But in the NBA, unless you're a superstar, you just have to find the right situation."

Hoping to attract another chance, Corchiani, a native of Florida, signed with the Rapid City Thrillers of the Continental Basketball Association.

"That's the coldest I've been," he said. "A couple of days we had whiteouts from the snow and the temperatures were single digit. I won't miss the South Dakota climate."

Corchiani escaped last week after getting a call from Bullets general manager John Nash, who was seeking a replacement for guard Doug Overton, who underwent thumb surgery yesterday in Philadelphia and will be out for at least six weeks.

If Corchiani demonstrates an ability to ignite the stagnant Bullets offense, coach Wes Unseld will find areason to extend Corchiani's visit.

Starting point guard Michael Adams is more effective in a transition game, but the Bullets have had limited fast-break opportunities recently.

"We're just not getting the job done in our half-court game," said Unseld, who was expected to give rookie guard Brent Price an extended look against the Pacers in Indiana tonight.

If Price fails to impress, Corchiani will get his chance.

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