ATLANTA — Here at the Final Four, where at the day-before press conferences, the story of Wichita State forward Carl Hall drew quite a bit of interest.
The 6-foot-8 senior from Cochran, Georgia, worked in a factory for two years after being diagnosed with neurocardiogenic syncope, a condition that means at times the heart has a tendency to beat too fast.
It was a lighting factory in which Hall began on the line, then was moved to a paint booth where he painted the lights before they were assembled.
Hall said he made about $12 an hour in a job he wouldn’t recommend to anyone.
“It was a hot, nasty job,” he said Friday during the breakout sessions with reporters.
Asked what he did, Hall pointed to the fluorescent lights overhead.
“I probably painted those right there,” he said.
Medical advancements allowed Hall to receive clearance to play again, though he was hesitant at first. Finally, the coach at Middle Georgia College convinced Hall to give up the factory, go to school full-time and play hoops again.
He played a year at Northwest Florida State before being recruited by Wichita State.
“I knew nothing about Wichita State,” Hall said Friday. “I had to Google it, see how big the city was. When I first heard the word ‘Wichita,’ I’m thinking a small country town, people walking around with cowboy boots on, things like that.”
Hall was named Missouri Valley Newcomer of the Year in 2012. He made the West Regional All-Tournament team last weekend after averaging 10.8 points and shooting 51 percent from the field. For the year, he’s averaging 12.5 points and 6.9 rebounds.
After Wichita State beat Ohio State last Saturday to reach the Final Four, students put a banner up over a residence facility re-naming it “Carl Hall.”
“It’s been wild,” said Hall. “Everything in town is black and yellow.”
Back home in Georgia for the Final Four, has Hall talked to any of his old factory friends
“I talked to my old line leader the other day,” he said. “He thought it was amazing.”
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