Monday, September 08, 2014

Marvin Barnes

Marvin Barnes, whose NBA career was derailed by substance abuse after leading Providence to the Final Four in 1973, has died, according to the college. He was 62.

Nicknamed Bad News and Marvin the Magnificent, Barnes was a 6-foot-9 center who teamed with fellow stars Kevin Stacom and Ernie DiGregorio to lead Dave Gavitt’s Friars to a 28-4 record in 1972-73, ending with a loss to Memphis State in the NCAA semifinals.

“Marvin will always be remembered as one of the greatest Friars of all-time,” Providence A.D. Bob Driscoll said in a statement.

Barnes was a consensus All-American during the 1973-74 campaign, leading the NCAA in rebounding with 18.7 per game. He was drafted No. 2 overall in the 1974 by Philadelphia, but instead signed to play with the Spirits of St. Louis in the ABA.

Barnes was the ABA Rookie of the Year in 1975, averaging 24 points and 15.6 rebounds and was taken fourth by the Pistons in the 1976 ABA dispersal draft. Moses Malone went 5th to Portland.

Barnes appeared in only 171 games for four NBA teams, but averaged only 9.2 points and 5.5 rebounds in the NBA and was out of the league by 1980, which he later attributed to heavy drug use during his career.

Barnes also had several run-ins with the law − and stints in drug rehab − during and after his career ended, including arrests for burglary, trespassing and drug and gun possession. Providence retired his jersey in 2008.

“He struggled with his demons, but he was a great friend,” Stacom told the Providence Journal. “He was a great talent and a great teammate, but most of all he was our friend.”

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