Friday, December 28, 2012
- by B.B. Branton
David took down Goliath with one shot – probably from beyond the arc.
Jimmy Chitwood took down South Bend with a jumper – also from long distance.
A near-fatal heart ailment all but took down Allan Chaney’s college basketball career.
Life was good for the New London (Conn.) High School senior in the winter of 2008 with an all-state career averaging double figures in points (26 ppg) and rebounds (15 rbpg) and a scholarship in hand to play in the Southeastern Conference for the U. of Florida.
But life and basketball went south for the 6-9, 235 pound Chaney as he transferred to Va. Tech from Florida after one season due to lack of playing time with the Gators, followed by a heart ailment diagnosis in 2009 - viral myocarditis—an inflammation of the heart that can be fatal - that, in part, sidelined him from shooting hoops for 44 months.
Due to the heart ailment and possible red tape, Va. Tech never cleared him to play, so Chaney, with an undergraduate degree in hand, transferred to High Point earlier this fall.
The story does have a Hoosiers-type ending as Chaney will start tonight for High Point (N.C.) University against Chattanooga in the 7 p.m. game of the Dr. Pepper Classic at McKenzie Arena. Austin Peay and Utah Valley play at 4:30 p.m.
Entering tonight’s contest, Chaney leads the Panthers in points (13.8 ppg) and rebounds (8.1) and evidently did not lose his shooting touch while sidelined for 1,000-plus days as he is 54.7% from the field and seventh in the nation from the free throw line (93.3%).
His second chance at basketball came when cardiologist Dr. Frank Marchlinski cracked open Chaney’s chest in March 2012 and placed a defibrillator, a device that monitors the heart and is utilized as a precaution in case heart issues arise, under his left arm pit.
This came two years after a Boston surgeon told Chaney that he would never play again.
He was cleared to play in May and after hearing from a handful of interested coaches he settled on High Point, a member of the Big South Conference, where he is enrolled in Norcross Graduate School, majoring in Nonprofit Management.
Chaney’s first game back from the 44-month layoff showed that he had not lost his touch as he totaled 15 points, seven rebounds and two assists in 16 minutes in a 81-73 win against UNC-Greensboro.
Tonight against host UTC, the 22-year-old Chaney hopes to equal those totals or more and lead his Panthers to their third win against a Southern Conference school this season.
contact B.B. Branton at email@example.com