SPORTS OF THE TIMES; Calloway Did the Dishes


Published: March 23, 1987

LEAD: THE longer her son stayed on the floor, the closer Eleanore Calloway gravitated to the court. She worked her way through the stands, row by row, until she reached the wooden barricade.

THE longer her son stayed on the floor, the closer Eleanore Calloway gravitated to the court. She worked her way through the stands, row by row, until she reached the wooden barricade.

''They told me I couldn't go on the court,'' she said. ''They would have had to remove me bodily.'' Before it came to that, Rick Calloway limped off toward the locker room, his season possibly over, the Indiana season not far behind. Trailing by 8 points with 14 minutes 31 seconds to go, Indiana might have seemed as wobbly as Rick Calloway's right knee, even with that thick brace lashed around it.

But they are survivors, the Calloways and the Indianas, and they endured yesterday in Rick Calloway's hometown. He came back into the game to put in a rebound with 7 seconds left to give Indiana a 77-76 victory that sent them to the Final Four.

In the stands, an entire row of fans waved their CALLOWAY COUNTRY placards and they celebrated. Basketball and Indiana and Rick Calloway bring Eleanore Calloway and Richard Calloway together for a few dozen games each winter.

''Richard is always at the games,'' said Eleanore Calloway. ''He is Rick's father.''

Richard Calloway and Eleanore Calloway have been divorced for years, but they share the tickets and their concern for Rick's weak knee and their respect for the Indiana basketball program, which is to say, for Bobby Knight.

Everything about the way they raised their son, first together, then separately, led to his wearing that red-and-white uniform yesterday.

''Indiana best suited Rick's situation,'' said Richard Calloway.

Bobby Knight would not be the first strong disciplinary figure in Rick Calloway's life. He had two of them, his father and his mother.

Richard Calloway, a middle-sized wiry man, used to take his son to any available court on weekends and drill him dozens of ways - jumping rope, shadowboxing, moving to music, shooting on an obstacle course, devising game situations, final seconds, the key rebound rolling off the rim.

Eleanore Calloway never let her son become a blue-chip basketball player in his ego. Their son made the choice of Indiana, but the parents could not have agreed more. Some of the public and the press may wince when Knight tries to bully an official, starts hitching up his red sweater and throwing his considerable belly around like a professional wrestler, kicking a chair and pounding a table and costing himself a technical and a point on the scoreboard, as Knight did in the first half yesterday. But Richard Calloway sees a bigger picture.

''So he curses,'' Richard Calloway said. ''Kids curse, too. My grandmother had a saying: 'Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.' Some coaches prostitute themselves for the kids, but not Coach Knight. The main thing is, some teams play basketball and some teams know basketball. Indiana knows basketball.''

''I'll give you an example,'' Richard Calloway said. ''Uwe Blab hardly knew what a basketball was, and now he has a four-year guaranteed contract with the Dallas Mavericks. Then you take Alfredrick Hughes and Michael Young, who are not even in the league.''

He was contrasting Blab, a West German citizen who played for Knight, with former college stars at Loyola and Houston, respectively.

The son thought it was a bit ''strange'' when Knight, in their first meeting, slapped him on the behind. But he never let it bother him when Knight suggested he might be a loser because his high school team never had a winning record. Calloway learned fast last season as a freshman, but this season he missed five games with strained ligaments in the knee.

Playing in the regional in his hometown was a challenge he had to ignore. His mother said: ''Rick told me, 'It's just another game.' I took him at his word. My pastor's wife, Carrie Wilson, told me Rick would score the winning basket today.''

The wife of the Rev. Henry Wilson Jr., pastor of the Cornerstone Missionary Baptist Church, was sticking with her prediction yesterday even when Calloway stretched the bad knee.

Eleanore Calloway thought to herself, ''Oh, no, not an operation,'' but her son said later, ''I wasn't worried too much because the knee couldn't go too far with that brace.'' He ran sprints under the stands to convince the trainer his knee was all right, and he was back in the game after only 1:34 had elapsed.

By that time, Indiana was down by a full 10, but all of his father's drilling, all of Knight's teaching, had made Rick Calloway believe.

''I pride myself that we never fold,'' he said later. ''Go get some steals, go get some balls.'' Indiana was still down by a point when Fess Irvin missed a foul shot with a whole lot of jambalaya, crawfish pie and file gumbo riding on it. Indiana got the rebound and worked it downcourt for an inside shot by Daryl Thomas.

''I saw Daryl go up and two guys went up with him. Nobody was in front of me. Coach Felling tells me that 75 percent of the rebounds go to the weak side.''

The teaching of assistant coach Ron Felling paid off. The ball went to Calloway with a whole posse of L.S.U. players on the way.

''Usually, you go back down with the rebound,'' he said, ''but I thought if I can just get it back up again, they were so big. I had good control. I just put it on the glass, and let the glass put it in for me.''

His father was watching the rebound, and then he saw a slender No. 20 with a knee brace move directly to the ball. The father said: ''We talked about these very things. It's just like Coach Knight says: 'Concentration.' ''

Standing at the barricade after the game, Richard Calloway instinctively put his arm behind his former wife and told this story: ''The day Rick left for Indiana, his mother made him make his bed and do the dishes.''

Eleanore Calloway laughed and exclaimed: ''No breaks! He doesn't get any breaks at Indiana!''

No breaks. Just the Final Four.