Men’s Basketball: Nash suffers from heart ailment

Danny Daly

Just when it seemed like things couldn’t get worse for the Wildcats, they got hit with even more bad news.Senior guard Jeremy Nash, who led Northwestern with 20 points in the season opener against Northern Illinois, has been having recurring breathing problems and was sidelined for almost all of Monday’s practice.”My breathing was a little bit heavier than usual, so the trainer told me to stay out of most of the things just to let it calm back down,” Nash said.He has worn a heart monitor the past two-and-a-half weeks, even during games, so the doctors can track it. Occasionally the monitor causes discomfort, and Nash has to readjust it during stoppages.It doesn’t appear to be too serious right now, and junior guard Michael Thompson said he expects “Jeremy will be back for (Wednesday’s) game, definitely.” In the meantime, NU is left without any of its three scholarship seniors on the floor.”It’s all scary, like with Jeff (Ryan) going down in the game,” Nash said. “It’s really taken a toll. But I think the guys are handling it well, going out and practicing hard, not shying away from going to the basket.”Nash said he has previously experienced these breathing issues “in spurts,” and his heartbeat sometimes accelerates too quickly after running drills that involve constant starting and stopping.The death of his former Marist High School teammate, Jim Griffin, makes the problem even scarier for Nash. In early September, the redshirt senior at Samford passed away overnight in his dorm room. The cause of death has not been released, but Griffin apparently suffered from a heart condition.”I told myself I’m going to play my hardest just for him,” Nash said. “He was the heart and soul of their team, and it hit home.”Nash hasn’t had the same symptoms as Griffin, and he said he tries to block those thoughts from his mind while he’s playing.”It’s in the back of my mind, but I haven’t been having chest pains so I’m not too worried about it,” Nash said. “When I’m on the court, that’s the least of my worries.”