March 06, 2015

WASHINGTON (AP) More than three years after a heart ailment stopped his basketball career, Georgetown senior Tyler Adams will start in his final home game Saturday.

The program received a waiver from the NCAA to play Adams, who has remained on scholarship despite not playing since early in his freshman season. The 6-foot-9 center won't play much against Seton Hall, but he was surprised to learn from John Thompson III that he would play at all.

''I thought it was a joke,'' Adams said when the coach told the team. ''Everyone started laughing and it kind of shocked me, but everyone was excited when they heard the news.''

Adams entered the program known for heralded big men as part of a freshman class that included Washington Wizards forward Otto Porter. While Porter shined for the Hoyas, Adams only played in four games.

''He was going to be the next Georgetown center,'' Thompson said. ''Then he was diagnosed with a heart condition (which) hurt him, hurt us. He's someone that has not pouted. He's someone that has a found a way to help this team, to make his teammates better in a totally different way than any of us envisioned in going through the recruiting process.''

Adams last played on Dec. 3, 2011, against NJIT. Soon after, the Mississippi native, his family and Thompson worked together to come up with a plan.

''The doctors told me I could play for 20 years and nothing would ever happen or I could play for two minutes and something could happen,'' said the sociology major. ''Once the doctors told me that, I didn't really want to take a chance.

... I just knew in life that there were other things besides basketball. I was just blessed Coach let me stay around, kept me on scholarship. Getting a degree from Georgetown speaks for itself.''

Adams essentially serves the team as a de facto assistant coach. ''(I) probably watch more film than all the guys who play,'' the smiling senior said.

The coaching path is one he'd like to pursue after his college career. For one more day, he takes on the role of player.

''(Coach) called us together in a group and mentioned how he doesn't do what other coaches do with starting seniors,'' Adams said. ''That it wasn't that big of a deal to him, but at the end of the conversation he said, `but we're going to make an exception and start you.'''

As for Saturday, ''According to coach, I'll probably only get one possession. Get one shot attempt,'' Adams said. ''Hopefully I make it. Honestly, I was thinking about shooting a (3-pointer). I'm kind of nervous, but I think I'll be all right.''

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