The Mark Acres Chronicles
"I'm going to call my father," 6-foot-10-inch Mark Acres said yesterday afternoon. "He'll be the happiest guy about all of this. He's been with me through everything. He's a guy who really wanted me to come here to try."
"I've been here since August," Mark Acres said. "Every practice they've had, I've been there. This is what I dedicated myself to. I've been living in a hotel, Howard Johnson's. I know everybody who works there. It's a long time to stay at a hotel. I'm going to look for an apartment."
How many nights had been spent wondering what would happen next? How many lists had been made about who would be on the team and who would not be on the team if the coaches' eyes were focused in the proper direction? How many lists had not been made, the impulse resisted, replaced by the fatalistic vow that "I'll just play, and what will happen is what will happen"? If worry were electricity, couldn't a medium-sized American city have been lit by any one of a half-dozen of these basketball players in the past month?
"The first year, I was drafted by Dallas," Mark Acres said. "I went down there and I saw the other guys who were drafted and I knew I didn't have a chance. I signed a contract with a team in Belgium. I came back last year, and it was the same thing. Dallas had the same guys, plus Roy Tarpley, the first draft choice. I went to Belgium again. I never really was cut, but I cut myself.
"I came back this year, and my agent said Boston was interested. We looked at the possibilities -- Kevin McHale was out and Bill Walton was out and the Celtics said they weren't going to take a lot of guys to camp. This seemed to be the place to come. I dedicated myself to it. I played all summer in Los Angeles. I was in a couple of leagues. I worked out every day. I wanted this to be my best chance."
The Celtics trimmed their roster to the final 12 men yesterday for Friday night's opening game of the National Basketball Association season against the Milwaukee Bucks at Boston Garden. Larry Bird made the team. Dennis Johnson, Robert Parish and Danny Ainge also made the team.
So did some other guys.
"I'm going to call my fiancee late tonight," Mark Acres said. "She lives in Belgium. I call late at night, and it's early in the morning for her. The team in Belgium has been waiting for me, hoping that I'd be cut. I'm going to give her the news, tell her to come over here, that I'm not coming there."