University of Louisville center Clarence Holloway's basketball career has ended after tests revealed he has Marfan syndrome, a condition which will limit his physical activity.
"God works in mysterious ways," said U of L Coach Rick Pitino. "Clarence developed a stress fracture his senior year, which kept him sidelined and probably saved his life. Detecting his heart condition and the subsequent surgery when he arrived at U of L was also a life-saving measure. Now, after this special testing, we know that the condition he has will make him unable to play basketball for the rest of his life. He will now begin a new journey, which will hopefully lead him to gaining a very strong education here at U of L and to prosper in a different walk of life. We're behind him 100 percent."
Holloway enrolled at U of L in the fall of 2007 but has never played for the Cardinals. He had life-saving open heart surgery on Sept. 22 at Jewish Hospital to repair the wall of his aorta and his aortic valve. During a routine physical examination the prior day, Holloway was admitted to the hospital after an echocardiogram detected the heart condition. He was sidelined for the entire 2007-08 season and had been cleared to join the U of L team following successful completion of his academic work this fall.
Holloway is currently enrolled at U of L while undergoing cardiac rehab at Jewish Hospital. U of L will file a permanent medical exemption for Holloway, which would allow him to remain on scholarship and not count among the Cardinals' scholarship limit.
Marfan syndrome is a heritable condition that affects the connective tissue of the body, which provides a framework for growth and development. Marfan syndrome can affect many body systems and can strike men, women and children of all races and ethnic backgrounds. It is estimated that at least 1 in 5,000 people in the United States have the disorder and most people affected lead productive and satisfying lives.
Holloway, a 7-1 center from Chicago, last played basketball in 2006 while in prep school for the Chicago Boys to Men Math and English Academy. He had previously signed with the Cardinals prior to his senior year at Harlan High School in Chicago, where he averaged 15 points and 10 rebounds as a senior in 2004-05. Following his senior year at Harlan, Holloway spent time at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. and was an early entry candidate for the 2006 NBA Draft before removing his name from consideration. He was rated 10th nationally among fifth year players by The Hoop Scoop in 2006.