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Wohl Claims Nets Overlooked Evidence of Drug Use

February 26, 1988

Former New Jersey Nets Coach Dave Wohl says team officials had evidence of suspended forward Orlando Woolridge's drug use in October, 1987, but apparently did not act on it.

What appeared to be drug paraphernalia were found in Woolridge's room by Wohl at the Princeton Ramada Inn, near the team's training camp, the Record of Hackensack reported Thursday.

Woolridge, 28, admitted his cocaine addiction last Monday after the Nets fined him $22,250 for missing the team bus Friday and games Friday and Saturday. Woolridge will undergo rehabilitation at a Van Nuys hospital for about six weeks.

Wohl, fired by the Nets in December, said he found "a white powder on the table next to the bed, and a Coke can in the bathroom with the top cut off, a hole in the side, and a tube coming out the hole."

Woolridge denied cocaine use at the time, but Wohl considered "that was enough evidence to go on, I felt. . . . That, and the fact that he had been a half-hour late to two practices that same week."

Wohl said he immediately presented the evidence to Nets Chief Operating Officer Bob Casciola and General Manager Harry Weltman, both of whom later met with Woolridge. According to Wohl, "All they did was give him a stern lecture and make him promise not to do it again."

Wohl said that he was surprised that his bosses did not take stronger action and said he "strongly suggested that we back Orlando into a corner."

"This is the first time we heard this allegation by Dave Wohl, and obviously this is something we have to look into," NBA Executive Vice President Russ Granik told the New York Times.

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