Amaechi gets warm response at Penn State Print
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Thursday, 19 April 2007 20:18
NCAAB Headline News

 STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) -John Amaechi hasn't heard a word from any former NBA teammates since becoming the first former league player to acknowledge his homosexuality.
``Not one,'' he said Thursday night.
It's the exact opposite when it comes to his former Penn State teammates. The ex-Nittany Lion said he's received messages from every former college teammate.
``Every single one,'' Amaechi said during a 90-minute appearance at the campus student union, speaking in front of a banner that read ``Welcome Home John. Penn State's Finest.''
Amaechi, 36, who was raised in England, played in 301 NBA games over five seasons and averaged 6.2 points and 2.6 rebounds. He had NBA stops in Cleveland, Orlando, Utah, Houston and New York.
But Amaechi holds an affinity for Penn State, where he played from 1993-95 and was an academic All-American.
Coach Ed DeChellis recruited Amaechi while he was an assistant. The two have kept in touch, and DeChellis called Amaechi after the release of the book ``Man in the Middle'' and invited his former player back to campus to talk.
``It's a good thing for our players to be around a guy as classy as John Amaechi,'' DeChellis said recently. ``He had the courage to talk about his sexuality openly and how he's dealt with it.''
In his talk to students, Amaechi said he was a ``geek'' and ``gym rat'' in his college days.
He encouraged students to strive for perfection, and to not be apathetic about issues of diversity.
Amaechi was critical of former Penn State women's basketball coach Rene Portland, who resigned last month. Portland and the university in March settled a lawsuit from a former player who claimed Portland had a ``no-lesbian'' policy on her team.
``She, anyone like that is incongruent with what this university and society ... should stand for,'' Amaechi said, drawing applause.
``The job of this institution is to be so good, so malleable, so flexible that it's an environment where all people can perform at their peak,'' he said. ``Anybody who doesn't want that, doesn't belong here, at all.''
 

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