Former Norfolk Collegiate basketball player dies in crash

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) — Former Norfolk Collegiate basketball player SaBastian Townes recently died in a crash, according to Bryant University.

The Carter County Coroner’s Office told 10 On Your Side the 27-year-old was driving a semi-tractor trailer on I-64 in Carter County, Kentucky when he was involved in a single-vehicle crash. The coroner’s office said it happened Monday morning. The office believes he lost control.

Townes played under coach Jim Markey at Norfolk Collegiate. According to his Bryant University biography, he was a four-time first-team All-State select in men’s basketball and the all-time leading scorer at the local high school with 2,000 plus points at Norfolk Collegiate.

He joined the Bulldog team in 2016 as a forward. In 2016, he was named NEC Rookie of the Week. While playing at Bryant University, he was selected for the third-team All-NEC as a junior.

“He had the best year of his career with us, his first year,” Phil Martelli, Bryant University head coach, said.

Bryant University posted on X, sharing the news of his passing.

Martelli coached Townes from 2018-2020. Martelli told 10 On Your Side’s Lauryn Moss he was soft-spoken and had a smile he will never forget.

“The big teddy bear,” Martelli said. He made you feel comfortable and really brought people in. Again, he was more soft-spoken but very welcoming.

He added: “If you needed him, he was there and I think everybody who was around him saw that. He had a genuine care for people, you know, was there to help.”

Martelli said this loss is devasting for Townes’ former teammates.

“I’m obviously devastated for Bash, devastated for his family, but devastated for those guys, too, because they went through something,” Martelli said. “They go through it together and you form these bonds.”

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