Clemson's Gray, ex-St. Frances star, has heart problem

April 06, 1994|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,Sun Staff Writer

The career of former St. Frances High School basketball star Devin Gray remains in doubt after the Clemson junior forward had an apparent heart attack Monday night on the Clemson, S.C., campus.

The 6-foot-7 Gray, 21, from Baltimore, was awake and alert yesterday afternoon and was in serious but stable condition in the coronary care unit at Greenville Memorial Hospital near Clemson, according to a hospital spokesman.

"All indications are that he suffered a heart attack," said Dr. Stuart Clarkson, the team doctor. "He is in stable condition and has not had further chest pains since he was admitted to Greenville Memorial.

"Tests will be run to determine the extent and the cause of the damage, but it will be the end of the week before we can make a statement concerning his chances of continuing his basketball career," Clarkson said. "He had no history of cardiac problems."

Gray's career had seemed to be on the upswing. He led the Atlantic Coast Conference in field-goal percentage this year at .572 and was playing his best at the end of the season when he led the Tigers in scoring and rebounding with 65 points and 25 rebounds in three National Invitation Tournament games.

Gray averaged 14.4 points and six rebounds, second best on the team this season.

New Clemson coach Rick Barnes, who was hired from Providence on March 22 to replace Cliff Ellis, already had assured Gray of a more prominent role in the offense for next season, especially with junior center Sharone Wright turning pro.

Gray also had gotten some of his off-court affairs straightened out.

He was acquitted on March 29 of one count of assault and battery after he told a jury that he hit another student in self-defense. He also pleaded innocent to a charge of disorderly conduct in connection with a separate incident last fall.

"This is very tragic," said William Wells, Gray's high school coach. "There were never any indications of a medical problem when he played for me. I didn't know of anything. It seemed like he was getting his life under control.

"He had a new coach, they had already spoken and everything seemed to be in his favor," Wells said. "But now, this. I'm hopeful things will work out."

Barnes flew to Clemson from Providence yesterday to visit Gray.

"My only thoughts are with Devin Gray's general well-being," Barnes said. "I am not concerned as to whether or not he will play basketball again. I saw him today, and he was alert and doing as well as could be expected."

Gray had chest pains Monday evening in his dorm room, about 50 minutes after a conditioning session at Littlejohn Coliseum. Earlier in the day, Gray had lifted weights and played about three hours of basketball during a pickup game, according to a school official.

Gray was about to attend study hall at about 6:50 p.m. when the pains started. He was taken to Redfern Health Center, then to the Clemson Urgent Care Center.

At about 8 p.m. he was transported from Oconee Memorial Hospital to Greenville. He was accompanied by assistant basketball coach Bobby Skelton. "I saw him when he was running, and there were no problems," Skelton said.

Gray's mother, Patricia, and sister Sharnette were expected to arrive in Greenville yesterday. Neither could be reached for comment.

But Carl Nash, a former assistant coach under Ellis, had talked to Gray's family. "They said he was doing well. They said he was in good spirits and that he was sitting up laughing and joking."

Said Sally Plater, Gray's grandmother: "I've heard reports that he wasn't expected to play again. I'm looking forward to whatever, as long as he is blessed to live."

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