The cautionary tale of John Thompson's deflated basketball applies to the story of Milton Bell, a former Parade and McDonald's All-American whose time at Georgetown was cut short over academics.

Bell was a top 25 recruit out of Richmond when he joined the Hoyas' illustrious incoming class of 1989, a group which included Alonzo Mourning, Dikembe Mutombo, and John Turner, all of whom played in the NBA. Bell, who averaged 17 points and 11 rebounds a game as a senior, averaged 3.4 points as a freshman, playing an average of 8.3 minutes a game behind senior Jaren Jackson at small forward. Bell stayed as a reserve in 1989-90, playing in 10 of the team's 17 games before being held out of a mid-January road trip, usually a sign of academic trouble for a Georgetown player.

In January, 1990, Bell announced a transfer to the University of Richmond, telling a local newspaper reporter that "I just think at the University of Richmond the academics are a little bit easier so I can concentrate on basketball." The problem was that Bell had decided to transfer four days after the NCAA deadline, losing a semester of eligibility in the process.

Bell would have been eligible for the Spiders in the fall of 1991, but he was dismissed from school earlier that spring. "He wouldn't do the work or couldn't," a frustrated coach Dick Tarrant told the Richmond Times-Dispatch. "I guess he figured we could give him all A's, B's and C's just because he could run, jump and dunk."

With two years of eligibility remaining, Bell was presented various transfer options but declined all of them. "He's gone from being recruited by Louisville, Pittsburgh and Syracuse to Christopher Newport College, Belmont Abbey and Averitt," Tarrant said, but Bell left school to pursue a pro career overseas.

"There was more to it than academics, it was a variety of things," Bell told the Times-Dispatch after his departure. "I expected something that I thought would be there, and it wasn't there."

Bell's personal web site notes his scholarship and playing time at Georgetown but does not discuss his year at Richmond. He has played professionally for 20 different teams in 11 countries from 1993 through 2011, most within South America.

 

Season

GP

GS

Min

FG

FGA

%

3FG

3GA

%

FT

FTA

%

Off

Reb

Avg

PF

Ast

Blk

Stl

Pts

Avg

1988-89 22 0 183 30 56 53.5 1 1 100 14 20 70.0 22 45 2.1 27 10 10 8 75 3.4
1989-90 10 0 77 17 31 54.8 0 2 0.0 8 9 88.8 11 19 1.9 3 4 3 1 42 4.2
Totals 32 0 260 47 87 54.0 1 3 33.3 22 29 75.8 33 64 2.0 30 14 13 9 117 3.6
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