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Giomi Finding That Life Is Beautiful at North Carolina State

January 25, 1987|Associated Press

RALEIGH, N.C. — These are good times for Mike Giomi, his troubles at Indiana University well behind him.

Dropped from the Hoosiers by Coach Bob Knight for missing classes, the 6-foot-10 Giomi has found a home at North Carolina State and he is overcoming his rustiness to prove a valuable asset in his first season with the Wolfpack.

Any worries that Giomi's basketball talents had eroded after an almost two-year layoff were dispelled last Saturday night when he scored a career-high 24 points and grabbed nine rebounds in a 63-62 Atlantic Coast Conference victory over Georgia Tech.

"That's the best I've seen Mike Giomi play since he's been here," Wolfpack Coach Jim Valvano said after the Georgia Tech game.

In 2 1/2 stormy seasons at Indiana, Giomi was known as a strong rebounder but not much of a scorer (6.9 average). However, he made 12 of 14 shots from the field against Georgia Tech, working inside for most of his points. In the first half, he made all eight shots.

"I just had the hot hand,," said Giomi, who had been sick with the flu earlier in the week. "The shots were just dropping for me. I know I'm not a 24-point-a-game man. I just want to average 12 or 15 points a game and grab some rebounds. Things just went my way."

Giomi, whose future seemed bleak after Knight dismissed him 15 games into the 1984-85 season, has helped plugged a hole in the Wolfpack's front line left vacant by the early departure of Chris Washburn to the NBA. Giomi is averaging 9.5 points and 5.8 rebounds for the Wolfpack, 10-3.

When he was dismissed by Knight, Giomi returned home to Newark, Ohio.

Valvano, who had recruited Giomi in high school, didn't hesitate to call even though he had only one year of eligibility remaining.

"I remember being real impressed with Coach V," Giomi recalled about their first meeting. "Everybody loved him because of his charm, his personality and his knowledge of the game. He hasn't changed."

Giomi sat out last season as a transfer, but was able to practice with the Wolfpack.

"I'm glad I'm out there playing," he said. "I know I only have about 20 college games left, and I want to savor every one of them."

Since his arrival here, he has spent a lot of time answering questions about his problems at Indiana and he maintains that he harbors no grudge against Knight.

The difference in personalities between Knight, a stern disciplinarian, and Valvano, an outgoing, wise-cracking individual, has eased Giomi's comeback.

"Let's just say that I'm a lot closer to Coach V than to Coach Knight," he said. "He and Coach V are both great coaches. Both are very intense.

"They motivate differently. Here, a win is really sweet. If we lose, we know we all better be at practice right on time, but if we win, we can have some fun, maybe be a few minutes late.

"They're both great coaches. I doubt if anyone can teach the game better than Coach Knight."

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