Lamar Heard In ICU
Sadly, I regret to inform our readers that one of my all time favorite Dawgs is struggling right now. It is not my place to divulge private health information, but former Dawg player Lamar Heard is in the ICU of an Atlanta hospital in serious condition after he collapsed about a week ago. His condition is not good.
For those who may not know, Lamar was part of that great 1979 recruiting class with Dominique Wilkins, Derrick Floyd, Terry Fair and others that led to UGA’s first and only Final Four appearance in 1983. The 6’5″, do everything, SF out of Cartersville put his ego aside and sat for 3 years behind Wilkins before starting his senior season and helping the Dawgs to that Final Four, the school’s only appearance in that rarified company. A co-captain of the 1983 team with Terry Fair, Lamar would have started earlier for many teams, but he wanted to be at UGA. He was UGA’s best defender, a great rebounder and could score when necessary.
The 1983 NCAA Tournament
Perhaps best known for an uncalled, last second offensive basket interference tip-in that led directly to UGA’s defeat of VCU in the first round of the 1983 NCAA tournament, Lamar was a vital cog on that team and always denied that he touched that ball with a twinkle in his eye. The Dawgs won 56-54 in the second round in a #4 v. #5 match-up. The top four seeds in each regional had byes back then. On the way to the Final Four, the Dawgs knocked off the #1 and #2 seeds in the East, St. John’s and UNC, respectively. Georgia, which went on an historic run that was surpassed perhaps only by the Cinderella story of Jim Valvano’s N.C. State national champions, became the last team to advance to the Final Four in its first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance. And Lamar Heard was a leader on that team. Though he averaged just 7 ppg and rebounded at a clip of 6.6 rpg, Heard was one of those “glue” players that every team needs to succeed. He did whatever was necessary for his team to win.
After his time at UGA, Lamar was drafted in the 10th round of the NBA draft by the San Antonio Spurs, but he stayed in Athens to obtain his degree, then found his professional career overseas in Israel. Recently, he and other former Dawg players who played in Israel were honored at a Hawks basketball game.
After his playing days, Lamar settled with his wife and family in the Atlanta area. Interestingly, Lamar’s son, Jarred, recently signed a letter-of-intent to attend Arkansas-Monticello. Several years ago, when Jarred was a junior in HS, Lamar could be seen at most, if not all, of his AAU games. This writer was lucky enough to sit down with Lamar for a few minutes at one of his son’s games, and he was just as friendly and enthusiastic as he had always been. Lamar, with his infectious smile, spoke about his son’s potential and the recruitment of Dominique’s stepson, Isaiah, who ended up attending UVA, among many other topics.
Lamar’s health issue hit particularly close to home for this writer, as 1982-83 was my first year at UGA, and I was in attendance at every home game. Though time and distance have made it difficult to stay in contact, Lamar Heard and Gerald Crosby became friends of mine. Lamar has always been one of the nicest, most friendly, most open guys you could ever meet. It is difficult to know he is going through such serious health issues. All we can do is keep Lamar and his family in our thoughts and hope that, with modern medicine and skilled doctors, Lamar can return to both his family and the greater Bulldawg Nation.