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YouTube Gold: Len Bias vs. David Robinson

A match of immensely promising talents that would never happen again

Naval Academy David Robinson, 1986 NCAA East Regional Finals
College Basketball: NCAA Playoffs: Navy David Robinson (50) in action, block vs Duke Mark Alarie (32). East Rutherford, NJ 3/6/1986 
SetNumber: X32861 TK5 R4 F33

By 1985, Len Bias and David Robinson had both emerged as huge, can’t-miss future stars of the NBA.

Robinson of course would go on to a Hall of Fame career as a San Antonio Spur while Len Bias would be dead 15 months to the day later of a cocaine overdose the night he was drafted by the Boston Celtics.

He obviously moved from can’t-miss to a cautionary tale but Bias, had he lived, might have extended the Bird-McHale-Parish dynasty another 10 years.

They met in the 1985 NCAA tournament when Navy was a #13 seed and Maryland a #5. The Middies gave the Terps a solid game before losing 64-59. Robinson had 22 points and eight boards. Bias nearly matched him with 20 points and eight boards.

Also playing for Navy: Doug Wojcik.

At Navy, he was coached by the fiery Paul Evans. He later worked for Matt Doherty at Notre Dame and UNC, later becoming the head coach at Charleston.

He was fired after two years for allegedly being abusive to his players. Since then he worked briefly for Gonzaga and ECU before a second stint at Michigan State where he is today.

We mention him only for two reasons: first, playing for Evans and coaching under Doherty, on some level, must have affected his idea of how to interact with players, and second, while we wouldn’t normally mention something like this, his Wikipedia picture looks absolutely crazed.