Chaney feels fitter for HPU

Oct. 21, 2013 @ 09:36 PM

Briefly around this time last year, Allen Chaney wasn’t sure how long his comeback attempt would last.

At the time, Chaney was one of the big preseason stories for High Point University as he returned to play NCAA Division I basketball after being sidelined since April 2010 by a heart condition while he was at Virginia tech.

He was cleared to play in May of last year by his surgeon after a procedure to clear up an irregular heartbeat but had already been told by Virginia Tech that they no longer want to take a chance on him.

HPU decided it was worth the risk to add the 6-9. 240-pound forward after he was examined by team doctors and a local cardiologist. But, Chaney didn’t realize how much the layoff would affect him in game conditions until he tried to go all out in a preseason scrimmage against North Carolina Central.

“I was way behind In my conditioning,” Chaney said. “If you had seen me at that scrimmage against Central, you would have said, ‘we don’t know about the kid.’ I even said, ‘I don’t know.’ My body was just worn down.”

He found it so tough that he told Panthers coach Scott Cherry that we might not be able to bake it.

“I went up to the coach and said, ‘I don’t know if my body can take it,’ “ Chaney recalled. “He said, ‘stick with it and see how you are feeling by the time the first game comes around.’ He said, ‘trust me, you at 60 per cent are going to be better than a lot of people at 100 per cent. He said just keep sticking it out.’“

Chaney stuck it out even though he found that he was “physically worn down” from all the inactivity forced by his heart trouble.

“It wasn’t like I was breathing hard or anything like that,” Chaney said. “I was just worn down. I couldn’t push off, my jump shot was flat. It was just a lot of little things that played a part in that, weights and conditioning.”

The effect of time off was noticeable when he had trouble getting shots off near the basket or in the battle for rebounds. But, he was strong enough to be part of 1-2 frontcourt punch with heralded freshman center John Brown.

“I felt like I got better,” Chaney said. “I’m still not 100 per cent. But, I got better by the end of the year, being more explosive around the rim and finishing at the rim. I got a lot better.”

He was good enough to average 14.5 points and team-bests 8.1 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in 30 games. He improved enough to lead the lead in the team in scoring (14.9 ppg) and rebounding (7.9 rpg) in Big South games.

A graduate student who is playing for HPU this season thanks to being granted an extra year of eligibility by the NCAA because of his medical condition, Chaney decided to work out on his own this summer. 

“I did a better job this summer getting myself in shape, running every morning and thing like that,” Chaney said. “I didn’t come to school this summer because I wanted to work out with a different look at things.”

Chaney will admits that he’s still not at the level where he was before the medical issues began but he is in better shape. He won’t but a percentage on how close he is to being at full strength.

“The way he’s been playing, I’d say that he is at 110 percent,” Brown said.

Whatever it is, Chaney is confident that he is better shape than last year.

“It was hard, really hard last year,” Chaney said. “But I like the challenge. Looking at film, I go back and see that I there and now I know that I’m here.

“I think I came back a way better player. Coach and my teammates will tell you we did a good at that, so we should be OK.”