Monday, May 5, 2008

Georgia Tech player died of morphine toxicity

A Georgia Tech pitcher died last month from an accidental drug overdose, the medical examiner's office said Monday, but it has not been determined if heroin was involved.
Michael Hutts, a 21-year-old pitcher for the Yellow Jackets, was the victim of accidental morphine toxicity, according to a statement from Fulton County's chief medical examiner, Randy Hanzlick.
Hutts' roommate was quoted in the police report as saying the pitcher was visited the night before his April 11 death by a friend who was known to use heroin, possibly with Hutts.
Heroin is processed from morphine, a naturally occurring substance extracted from the seed pod of certain varieties of poppy plants, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
"At present, there is insufficient information to determine which pill(s) or substance(s) may have been taken to account for the morphine detected in the autopsy samples," Hanzlick said in his statement. "The answer to that question may remain unknown. At present, a substance typically found when heroin has been used has not been detected in the autopsy samples tested to date, but additional tests will be conducted."
Hutts was a management major who made Georgia Tech's dean's list last year.
Ryan Tinkoff, Hutts' teammate and roommate, told police he noticed Hutts' eyes were dilated before Tinkoff went to bed the night of April 10. Tinkoff said he entered Hutts' room the next afternoon when he did not respond to knocks on the door. According to the report, Tinkoff found Hutts non-responsive and his arm was "purplish."
Tinkoff told officers Hutts and friends had been drinking before Hutts was visited by a friend who "was known to use heroin, possibly with Mr. Hutts," the police report said.
Investigators found empty beer cans in the apartment, and an empty bottle of liquor and a bottle of pain pills in Hutts' room, according to the report.
Georgia Tech spokesman Wayne Hogan said the school has not seen a copy of the toxicology report but was hoping to get one by Tuesday.
"Nothing that has been released changes the sadness we all continue to feel," Hogan said. "As we've said all along, Michael was a promising kid. He was a great student, a very good baseball player and gave us no indication that there were these kind of issues to deal with. For that reason, it's shocking to us."
Hutts died less than a week after his best game of the season. On April 6, the reliever threw two scoreless innings against North Carolina, allowing one hit. Overall, he made nine appearances this year.
"It was just a very tragic mistake that took the life of an otherwise tremendous young person," Hogan said.

Potent Celtics will test Cavaliers
When LeBron James first walked into the Boston Celtics’ arena, then called the FleetCenter, five years ago, he had to listen to a bunch of stories about the famous Celtic mystique and the genius of legendary coach Red Auerbach.
The teller was Paul Silas, James’ first head coach, who loved to point to the rafters and the two banners he helped win as a member of the Celtics in the 1970s.
James has a sense and a respect for the history of the game, but that’s not what he’s focused on as the Cavaliers gear up for their Eastern Conference semifinal series with the Celtics, who finally dispatched the Atlanta Hawks 99-65 Sunday to advance to meet the Cavs. The series begins Tuesday in Boston at 8 p.m.
They have renamed the arena the "Garden" again but these aren’t Auerbach’s, Silas’ or Larry Bird’s Celtics. And not just because there’s a dance team now and the new victory cigar is a wildly popular video clip from American Bandstand with a dancer nicknamed Gino who is now a cult hero in New England.
These Celtics don’t thrive on tradition. They are blowout artists armed with physical defense and plenty of star power. That is what James and his teammates are now preparing for, a 66-win powerhouse with three All-Stars in Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce. Although the Celtics were pushed to the brink by the Hawks, who had 29 fewer wins in the regular season, the Cavs know what faces them.
"It’s going to be a really good matchup," James said Sunday. "They play great team basketball."
The Cavs’ first order of business will be to prepare for the stresses of playing on the Celtics’ floor. The Celtics thrived on routing teams at home in the regular season, 14 times winning by 20 points or more as they went 35-6 at home, the second best in the NBA. During the season, their average margin of victory was 10 points, the highest in the NBA.
They were a perfect 4-0 against the Hawks at TD Banknorth Garden and won those games by an average of 25 points. The Cavs lost twice in Boston this season, though they beat the Celtics twice at home, once by 10 points without LeBron James and once by five points after their February trade.
The reason is the Celtics’ defense, which was the best in the NBA this season. They gave up just 90.2 points a game, the second lowest in the league, and held opponents to 41.9 percent shooting, which was the league’s best.
Their defense is very physical and very aggressive, they pressure the ball on the outside and often use mixes of zones and man-to-man, sometimes on the same possession. By getting loads of defensive stops, the Celtics became famous for going on large runs early in games and never looking back.
"They try and hit people early a la a lot of heavyweight prize fighters who try to knock people out in the first round," said Wally Szczerbiak, who played two years with the Celtics before being traded last summer. "I don’t think we can get down when they make their runs. This team has a lot of solid veterans that are able to do that."
From the Cavs’ perspective, their greatest weapon is of course James. The Celtics have always had trouble dealing with him. He has scored 30 or more points against them in nine of the past 10 meetings. Also, James is at his best in the postseason as a finisher in close games. Against the Hawks, the Celtics had trouble handling star Joe Johnson as he made plays down the stretch to lead his team to victory in each of the three close games in the series. The Celtics resorted to aggressive double teams that didn’t always work.
So the Cavs’ goal will be to keep things close and let James try to be the difference-maker in the end.
"We’re going to approach it like we approach every series. We’re going to try to get stops and execute on the offensive end," James said. "If they double-team me, it won’t be something I haven’t seen before. It may have caught Joe off guard but it won’t catch me off guard."

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