University of Wisconsin – Whitewater basketball star Derek Gray died “unexpectedly” on Sunday, July 24th while “playing the game he loved,” the college athletic team announced.
According to Pat Miller, the coach of the men’s basketball team at UW-Whitewater for 30 years, the cause of his death was cardiac-related.
“It was a cardiac event,” Basketball Coach Pat Miller told 27 News. “He had a blockage.”
Miller told the news outlet that when Gray collapsed at the basketball camp for kids on campus, he thought the player had experienced a seizure. Miller further claimed that emergency personnel responded immediately and took the campers out of the facility.
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“It was just a very surreal situation where you’re thinking, ‘Okay, he’s going to be all right,’ and then you’re very scared, and the longer it went on, it became apparent that this was extraordinarily serious,” Miller said.
Miller said Gray suddenly passed out at an event the team was holding last Sunday, as reported by Channel 3000.
“It was horrible,” said Miller. “We have our overnight camp. At the end of our evening session, we get pizza for the campers and all our camp counselors play a game and play music, and it’s just kind of a fun thing. He collapsed during the game.”
Gray’s official cause of death has yet to be released.
Tributes have poured in following his death.
Our program is devastated by the loss of Derek Gray. Derek was beloved and respected by his teammates at a level few in our program have ever achieved. He’s left a legacy that will be remembered and emulated by players for generations to come. https://t.co/fzQE2Q4o6b
— UWW Men’s Basketball (@UWWMensHoops) July 26, 2022
Rest in peace Derek Gray. Our hearts and prayers go out to the your family, The Madison LaFollette and UW Whitewater community. He was a special player. But even more he was a great son, brother, friend and teammate. He will be deeply missed. #RIPDG4 pic.twitter.com/556fUXIFhv
— Playmakers basketball Club (@PmsWisconsin) July 25, 2022
The Titan family sends its condolences to the Warhawk family and the Madison La Follette community in the tragic loss of Derek Gray of UW-Whitewater Men’s Basketball. We want to extend our thoughts and prayers to his family, friends, teammates and coaches at this time. https://t.co/RFPkHPDj7w
— UW-Oshkosh Athletics (@UWOshkoshTitans) July 27, 2022