Terry Long, the University of Maryland teammate who tried to revive basketball star Len Bias after he collapsed in a dorm room Thursday morning, told emergency technicians that Bias had used "drugs and alcohol" before his death, a source who has talked to team members said yesterday.
That information was relayed to Dr. Amjad Rasul, the cardiologist who was called in from his Alexandria home to try to save the 22-year-old all-America player who was brought unconscious to Leland Memorial Hospital in Riverdale at 6:50 a.m.
"I was told one friend of Bias did mention there was drug use," Rasul said. "There was some partying, drinking, perhaps drug use."
According to a source, Long, a roommate who others have said was with Bias when he collapsed, told a nurse or a paramedic that "Bias had been using some drugs." Evidence of cocaine was found in Bias' urine sample taken at the hospital after he was pronounced dead of cardiac arrest at 8:50 a.m, according to police sources.
Long said yesterday his attorney had advised him not to comment.
On Friday, university police seized a clear, plastic bag containing a white, powdery substance under the glove compartment in Bias' leased sports car, which was parked behind the Washington Hall dormitory where the players were living while attending summer school.
A source familiar with the investigation said yesterday that tests conducted by the Maryland State Police have determined that the substance is cocaine.
Investigators are also trying to determine whether Bias and a friend drove early Thursday to an area in the District of Columbia where police say drugs are often sold.
Police said yesterday that tomorrow they will question Long and another basketball player and dorm mate, David Gregg, who sources said was also in the suite when Bias collapsed.
Phil Nevin, another teammate who shared the suite, will be interviewed later, police said.
Prince George's County police investigators have said they would like to interview Brian Tribble, described as a longtime friend of Bias who dorm mates have said was with Bias in the dormitory room when they awoke and saw Bias unconscious in Long's room of the suite.
Jeff Baxter and Keith Gatlin, two other dorm mates who are basketball players, were interviewed by police and said they were asleep in their bedrooms when they awoke to find paramedics trying to revive Bias.
"The only people who know what happened to Bias are Terry Long and David Gregg," said Gatlin.
Long returned to campus late yesterday afternoon under university police escort. Asked if he had been interrogated, he replied, "No. They just wanted to make sure I got back to the dorm safely."
Cardiologist Rasul said he was called at home Thursday morning by an emergency room physician whom he described as "frantic.
"He said, 'We need you right away. It's Len Bias . . . . ' " Rasul said. "He did mention over the phone that there was drug use. Whether he meant drug use by him Bias , I don't know."
Bias had "two or three beers in the evening," Rasul said he was told.
Bias was on a respirator when the cardiologist arrived at the emergency room, Rasul said, and he inserted a pacemaker to try to stimulate Bias' heart. After about 10 minutes, Rasul said, he pronounced Bias dead and left the emergency room to inform family and friends who were waiting outside.
Police are conducting a criminal investigation and have said the circumstances surrounding Bias' death are "suspicious."
The state medical examiner in Baltimore, whose office is conducting the autopsy, has not released any test results.
Bias, a 6-foot-8-inch forward for the Terrapins, was the first college player drafted by the National Basketball Association champion Boston Celtics Tuesday and the second player picked overall.
The abrupt death of a local sports hero cast a pall over the University of Maryland and the Landover community where Bias grew up.
Maryland Athletic Director Dick Dull said he met yesterday with basketball coach Lefty Driesell and reassured him "that we were all behind him and together."
By late yesterday, there was still an incomplete picture of what happened in the hours before Bias collapsed.
Gatlin said Bias went by the dorm room sometime before midnight. Bias shared a crab dinner with Long, Gregg and two football players, Keeta Covington and Ben Jefferson. Gatlin said he did not join the dinner but went to his own room and to bed.
Nevin said he returned from a friend's house in Greenbelt about 2 a.m. He said he did not see anyone in the living room and he went to bed.
"I didn't think anyone was home," Nevin said. "Everything was relatively quiet . . . . Later, I heard some noises and turned over. But that was sort of usual, for it to be noisy."
According to a man who identified himself as John Williams, Bias stopped by what friends said was Tribble's apartment on Cherry Hill Road near the College Park campus at about 12:45 a.m. Thursday. Williams said that he, Bias, Tribble, another dorm mate named Mark Fobbs and a woman whose name Williams said he did not know chatted for about 20 minutes.
Williams, who said he was staying at the apartment for a few days, said Bias then suggested that he and Tribble "go party."
Bias and Tribble left with the woman and said they were going to drive her home, Williams said.
Sources have said that police have received statements indicating that Bias and Tribble went to the area near Montana and New York avenues NE. District police have described the area as a well-known drug trafficking corridor and said that several arrests have been made there recently on cocaine, heroin and PCP charges.
Staff writers Mark Asher, Victoria Churchville, Matthew Daly, Greg Dowling and Sally Jenkins contributed to this report.