College Basketball Star Derek Gray Dead at 20

University of Wisconsin-Whitewater basketball player Derek Gray recently "passed away unexpectedly" while "playing the game he loved," the college's athletics department said.

By Corinne Heller Jul 29, 2022 7:11 PMTags
Watch: In Memoriam: Fallen Stars of 2022

College basketball is mourning the loss of a rising star.

The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater's athletic department tweeted that the Warhawks' guard Derek Gray "passed away unexpectedly on July 24th, 2022, playing the game he loved."

The cause of the athlete's death was not made public. However, UW-Whitewater men's basketball coach Pat Miller told Madison, Wis. TV station WKOW that Derek collapsed at a basketball camp for kids on campus. He said emergency responders arrived quickly and about 100 campers were escorted out of the facility without becoming aware of the player's worsening condition.

"It was just a very surreal situation where you're thinking, 'Okay, he's going to be all right,'" Miller said, "and then you're very scared and the longer it went on, it became apparent that this was extraordinarily serious."

Derek is survived by his parents, Traci Pine and Donneil Gray, twin brother David Gray, and an older brother, Donneil Gray Jr.

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Derek majored in psychology and minored in criminology, and was on pace to graduate in the spring of 2024, according to the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater athletic department, which also noted that the athlete was a two-year member of the Warhawk men's basketball program. During his time on the team, Derek was third team all region 9, first team all-WIAC and three-time WIAC player of the week.

John Fisher/Getty Images

"Our program is devastated by the loss of Derek Gray," Miller said in a statement through the athletics department. "Derek was beloved and respected by his teammates for his unique ability to develop meaningful connections with every individual throughout our program. He was an intelligent, compassionate, and inquisitive person by nature. I'll forever cherish our long talks about life, community, basketball and the various issues of our day."

Miller continued, "He was both respected and valued by his teammates at a level few in our program have ever achieved. He's left a legacy in our program that will be remembered and emulated by players for generations to come. I wish to extend my deepest condolences to his mother, Traci, as well as his entire family, friends and all that are grieving from this loss."

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