From Big Ten Courts To Big Time Torts

Inner Toobin

Mike Campbell had a decision to make. After four outstanding years with the Northwestern basketball team, he was drafted in the fifth round this summer by the National Basketball Association's Chicago Bulls. And earlier in the spring, he had received the coveted fat envelope from Harvard Law School.

"A lot of people say I'll look back and wonder if I would have made it," Campell said yesterday from his apartment near Mass Ave. Now, he will never know. "I'd been playing basketball for a long time," the 6-ft. 10-in. former forward sighed, "I was ready for something new."

So he left the Bulls without the good-shooting forward for whom they longed. "We were disappointed that he didn't come out and at least try out," Bulls' general manager Rod Thorn said yesterday, adding, "We felt he had a legitimate chance to make our team."

Campbell did, too. "Not a lot of fifth-round draft choices make it," he said. "But I'm pretty confident I would have made it. They were looking for someone to play along side Artis (Gilmore) who could score."



But there is little wistfulness in his conversation now. The Galesburg, Ill., native seems perfectly happy with his interest in a new kind of courts. Campbell's coach at Northwestern, Rich Falk, had no doubt that his top player would be happier here. "It was always a dream of his to go to Harvard Law School and he didn't want to have anything side-track him."

Nothing side-tracked him at North-western. Though the Wildcats didn't exactly dominate the Big Ten last year (6-21, good for last place), Campbell shined. He led the team in rebounds and field goal percentage ("Of-fensively, he's definitely a pro"--Falk) and earned first-team Acadmic All-American honors.

For someone who says he "had had enough of basketball," Campbell has not made a complete break with the sport. This is the first fall in more than ten years when he won't be "running, lifting weights and going crazy" in preparation for the season. Instead, he said he was "pleasantly surprised" by the interest in basketball here.

"I hear there are some really good intramurals," he says earnestly. And though Hemenway Gym is a long way from Chicago Stadium, he probably won't have to worry about being picked first.