Knight's Friend Collapses During Game

KANSAS CITY, Mo.--<b>Bob Hammel</b>, Bob Knight's closest friend who helped write his autobiography, collapsed at courtside Thursday while Knight was coaching <b>Tech</b> in the Big 12 tournament. <p> <br>

In the first moments after Hammel, the former sports editor of The Herald-Times newspaper of Bloomington, Ind., collapsed, a paramedic said the writer had an apparent heart attack.

Dr. Larry Cordell, the physician on duty during the game, later said Hammel was breathing on his own by the time he was taken by ambulance from left Kemper Arena.

"The clinical appearance looked like a seizure," Cordell said.

WDAF-TV in Kansas City, broadcasting the tournament, said the 66-year-old Hammel had a low blood-sugar diabetic seizure and was expected to recover.

Play was halted as paramedics attended to Hammel late in the second half of Tech's victory over Texas A&M.

Knight, in his first season at Texas Tech, went across the court at several times to watch closely. After the game, Knight jumped into a waiting patrol car and went immediately to St. Luke's hospital.

Knight's autobiography, 'Knight: My Story' is scheduled for nationwide release in late March.

"He was shook up right away when he found out who it was," said Tech assistant coach Pat Knight, who appeared at the postgame news conference in place of his father.

"That's the closest friend he has. It's ironic that he's also in the media, but that is the closest friend he has. He left immediately and didn't have time to talk to the team."

Hammel was the sports editor for The Herald-Times for 30 years before retiring after the 1996 Olympics.

The Raiders, who have made a remarkable turnaround in Knight's first season, almost let a 12-point lead get away before finally beating the Aggies 80-71.

Andy Graham, a sports writer at The Herald-Times, said Hammel was not covering the tournament for the newspaper, but was attending to "lend support" to Knight.

Graham said Hammel remains on the newspaper's staff as an editor, maintains an office there and edits the paper's Sunday edition, The Hoosier Times.

"He's really only semiretired. He never really has retired, he's here in the office every day," Graham said.

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