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Names In The Game

July 11, 1993

FRANKFORT, Ind. (AP) _ Crowds at the Case Arena parking lot swarmed around a van.

They were not after Shaquille O’Neal nor Nick Nolte, but after another precious commodity, one they will have long after the Hollywood stars and crews have packed their bags.

″I never knew when I designed this that it would be this successful,″ Bill Wheeler of the Frankfort Boys and Girls Club said of the blue and gold T- shirts of Nolte’s fictitious Western University. ″ ... I was afraid it might flop.

″People are buying three and four shirts at a time. It’s been great.″

The shirts, at $10 apiece, are the hottest souvenirs from the filming of the basketball scenes in Nolte’s newest movie, ″Blue Chips.″ The premiere of the movie will be next March at Bloomington, where Nolte spent part of last spring as Bob Knight’s pupil to research his role as a college coach.

The fourth and final game to be filmed for use in the movie will be Monday night. O’Neal, the NBA rookie of the year last season with the Orlando Magic, is a player for Nolte’s Western University Dolphins in the movie.

Others appearing in the movie include Indiana’s Calbert Cheaney, Greg Graham, Chris Reynolds and Matt Nover. Knight was the opposing coach in two of the games.


SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. (AP) - Former college athlete Joe Henry lived out one of his fantasies this week at the Washington Bullets’ training Camp.

″I’ve been in pro football camps before and always wondered about trying out in the NBA,″ said Henry, 40, who played football and basketball at California State (Pa.).

″That’s my fantasy and that’s why I’m here. I pursued football for a while but always wondered about basketball.″

Henry went to the Miami Dolphins training camp in 1975 as a punter and tried out for the New Jersey Generals in 1984. But Sunday he was a fantasy camp rookie, one of 12 on the Bullets’ roster.

Twenty-two men went through an abbreviated training camp with Bullets coach Wes Unseld and his staff. They learned the offenses and defenses, sat through chalk talks and skull sessions, worked on free throws and 3-point shots and played lots of basketball.

The players checked in at Shepherd College Thursday and spent three days preparing for Sunday’s all-star game.

The fantasy camp gives Unseld and his staff a chance to relax, but still talk and think about basketball.

″I enjoy it because these people love basketball and love to talk basketball,″ Unseld said. ″I can talk with them, say things and not worry about them being reported. I can tell them a few old war stories, lie to them, play a few tricks and they don’t know the difference. This gives me a chance to react personally with each of them.″

The Bullets camp and Magic Johnson’s camp in Hawaii are the only ones of their kind in the NBA.

Robert Stroud, 56, a retired postal worker from the District of Columbia who twice before has been in camp, is the oldest participant this year.

″I play a lot of one-on-one at the gym,″ he said. ″I just want to have fun, to improve on the little things I do when I play against the younger guys.″


INGLESIDE, Ill. (AP) - Melissa Helbig, 14, plays basketball, soccer and softball and runs track.

Lack of athletic ability has nothing to do with why officials at Grant Community High won’t let her compete on school sports teams.

Helbig and her 12-year-old brother, Travis, are taught by their parents at home, and Illinois law makes no provisions for home-schooled children to participate in public school extracurricular activities.

The predicament has angered Melissa and her father, Bill Helbig, and has thrust the family and the school district into a legal battle.

″I want to play,″ said Melissa, who lives in Ingleside. ″We live in the district, and my parents pay taxes to the schools even though my brother and I don’t go there. It’s not fair.″

Each school district makes its decisions on such matters. And Grant officials say they will wait until state guidelines spell out that a home- schooled child can participate.

Helbig is working with legislators to draft such a law, but it will be next year at the earliest before it will be passed.

In June, he addressed the Grant school board on the issue, but the vote was 4-1 denying her participation. School officials fear other students or schools will sue over her participation.

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