It was 10:29 a.m. Wednesday when Glen Gondrezick answered a cell phone call that sent him racing from Las Vegas to Los Angeles, with the help of a police escort.
Gondrezick, 52, made it to UCLA Medical Center, where he was joined by family and friends. He laughed about his hurried trip as he waited for a heart transplant operation scheduled for midnight.
A former UNLV basketball great and the color commentator on the Rebels’ radio broadcasts for the past 16 years, Gondrezick said he was anxious about the procedure that had been on hold for months.
He was surprised to get the call Wednesday after 33 days on the donor list.
"I’m at the point where I’m scared because there are no guarantees," he said.
The operation was expected to take three to four hours, Gondrezick said, and he is scheduled to remain hospitalized for six to 10 days.
After that, he will remain in Los Angeles for at least a month while his condition is monitored.
"If everything goes well, I will start that path back," he said. "My goal is to be back sitting there next season for the first exhibition game."
Gondrezick also checked into UCLA Medical Center on March 18, and he missed UNLV’s two games in the NCAA Tournament, but a heart donor was not found during his 17-day stay.
He said he would not get information on his new heart until after surgery today.
In recent months, as his physical condition worsened, Gondrezick was in and out of hospitals. But he was able to broadcast all but three Rebels games last season — the only three he missed in 16 years.
"It got to a point where I couldn’t function normally on a daily basis," he said. "It got to the point where it became critical.
"The physical part was hardest for me to accept, because it’s the first time my body has ever let me down, and then the mental part became a big deal."
Gondrezick joked about speeding on his drive to Los Angeles on Wednesday. He twice was stopped by police in California before a helicopter was sent for him to finish the trip to UCLA.
Gondrezick led UNLV to its first Final Four appearance in 1977. His jersey No. 25 was retired in 1997 and hangs in the Thomas & Mack Center rafters.
After his college career, Gondrezick played six seasons in the NBA, four with the Denver Nuggets and two with the New York Knicks.