The Oklahoma State basketball program has been rocked by tragedy.
Tyrek Coger, a 21-year-old junior college transfer from Raleigh, N.C., collapsed following a team workout Thursday afternoon. Coger was immediately transported to Stillwater Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 6:23 p.m.
Oklahoma State coach Brad Underwood was in Las Vegas recruiting on Thursday when he learned the news. He was expected to fly back to Stillwater as soon as possible to be with his team.
“Tyrek was excited to be at Oklahoma State and had such passion for the game and was looking forward to being an OSU Cowboy,” Underwood said in a statement. “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.”
Once hailed as a high-major Division I prospect while starring at Word of God Christian Academy in Raleigh, Coger originally committed to Missouri during high school but enrolled in junior college instead. The 6-foot-9 forward played the 2013-14 season at East Florida State, sat out the 2014-15 academic year and resumed his career at Cape Fear Community College last year.
Coger emerged as one of the nation’s better junior college prospects last season at Cape Fear, averaging 12.2 points and 7.0 rebounds and shooting 52.6 percent from the field. He had been expected to compete for playing time immediately at Oklahoma State after signing with the Cowboys in June.
“He’s the type of player that can be physically imposing, but he’s also a guy that brings a great deal of experience to the locker room,” Underwood said when he announced Coger’s signing on June 27. “He’s a great rebounder with a crafty touch around the basket, but he can also step back a knock down a 15-foot jumper. Tyrek is also a pretty good passer. Most importantly, he provides some much-needed physicality in the paint, which will make us a better basketball team.”
Many in basketball circles mourned Coger’s death, from current and former Oklahoma State players and coaches to NBA stars.
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