Former Georgia men’s basketball forward Lamar Heard passed away Thursday night at Northside Hospital in Atlanta at the age of 55. Heard was a captain of UGA’s 1983 Final Four team.
Heard, a 6 foot 5, forward from Cartersville, GA, played in 119 games from 1979-83. He set what were then school steals records for a single-game (six vs. Tennessee on Jan. 23, 1980), season (81 in 1982-83) and career (149). His former Head Coach, Hugh Durham, and teammate, Dominique Wilkins, spoke on Heard’s passing.
“Lamar was just a really good person,” said former Georgia head coach Hugh Durham. “I remember how close Lamar was to his family, and I know they were really proud of him, not just because he played basketball at Georgia but because he was a solid individual. I want to send my sincere condolences to Lamar’s family.”
“Lamar was a great guy, my best friend and roommate,” said Dominique Wilkins. “We shared so many special times and memories. I’m devastated and want to send my prayers and thoughts to his family.”
“Lamar did so many things and so many things well,” Durham said. “If we needed some to be point on the press, Lamar would be point on the press. If we needed someone to bring the ball up the floor, Lamar would bring the ball up the floor. If we needed someone to pass the ball, Lamar would pass the ball. He just did so many things. He was a coaches’ player and in that I mean he did things that coaches would notice that maybe fans wouldn’t be aware of. Lamar was a very good player, and he made the players around him much better as well. And as good as he was on the floor, he was even a better person off the floor.”
Heard, Terry Fair and Derrick Floyd were captains of Georgia’s 1982-83 team, which won the SEC Tournament and the NCAA East Regional. Heard started all 34 games that season and averaged 7.1 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. He scored a career-high 16 points at No. 10 Kentucky and notched a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds against Georgia Tech.
“When Lamar stepped across the line, he was like the glue for our team, particularly that team his senior year,” Durham said. “We had a lot of really good players on that team, and Lamar was one of them, but those other guys wouldn’t have been as good as they were without Lamar on the floor and in the locker room. That’s one of the things I’ll always remember about him. If you ask anyone who was the stud rebounder on that team, just about everyone would think about Terry Fair. I think Terry had something like 225 rebounds and Lamar has 224. (Fair actually had 224 and Heard had 223). Terry Fair was a beast, but if Terry Fair was a beast, what was Lamar Heard?”
One of Heard’s most outstanding performances came against No. 8 North Carolina in the “Elite Eight” round of the NCAA East Regional. Heard guarded Sam Perkins for most of the game and despite giving up four inches and 50 pounds to the Tar Heels’ post player, held him to only one shot attempt in the first half in the Bulldogs’ 82-77 victory.
“Coach Durham told me to mix it up,” Heard said after the Regional Final, “so I did something different almost every time they brought the ball downcourt.”
Heard worked in quality assurance for the IT Department of Fulton County.
A memorial service is being planned for next Saturday in Atlanta. Further information will be available as finalized.