OSU basketball player Tyrek Coger dies after team workout


STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) — Junior college transfer Tyrek Coger died Thursday after collapsing following an Oklahoma State basketball team workout, the university announced.

The school said the 21-year-old forward, who had just arrived at Oklahoma State earlier this month, was pronounced dead at Stillwater Medical Center on Thursday night.

“Tyrek was excited to be at Oklahoma State and had such passion for the game and was looking forward to being an OSU Cowboy,” coach Brad Underwood said. “Losing a member of the team is like losing a member of the family. But we know our loss pales in comparison to the pain his family is going through,”

Oklahoma State planned to release more details Friday about the death. The Stillwater NewsPress reported (http://bit.ly/29R36QY ) that emergency crews responded to a heat exhaustion call at Boone Pickens Stadium on Thursday, but it wasn’t immediately known whether that case involved Coger.

Coger’s death is the latest tragedy for OSU. Last fall, a driver crashed into a crowd at Oklahoma State’s homecoming parade, killing four spectators and wounding dozens. In 2011, women’s basketball coach Kurt Budke, assistant Miranda Serna and two others died in a plane crash in western Arkansas. And in 2001, 10 people died in a Colorado plane crash, including two men’s basketball players and six staff members.

In an interview with the Stillwater paper published earlier this month, Coger spoke of frequent headaches that plagued him during his high school days. He said he underwent surgery several years ago to drain fluid from around his brain.

“At the moment, I’m thinking ‘Basketball is over,'” he told the newspaper, recalling his feelings at the time of the surgery. “‘I gotta think beyond basketball now.'”

Coger, a native of Raleigh, North Carolina, said in the interview that he recuperated from the surgery then started his college career at Eastern Florida State College. He transferred after one season to Cape Fear Community College in Wilmington, North Carolina, where he played last season.

The 6-foot-8 player then initially signed with Ole Miss last fall but opted for Oklahoma State after the Southeastern Conference ruled he was ineligible because of rules on junior college transfers.

In 2012, Coger played a friendly game of one-on-one with Washington Wizards star John Wall, who posted a photo of the matchup on Instagram following Coger’s death. Wall wrote: “Rest in Peace to the lil homie who always had the competitive spirt.. you will be missed Tyrek.”

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Information from: Stillwater News Press, http://www.stwnewspress.com

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