College star, ex-NBA player dies of heart attack

devin-grayDevin Gray, The Baltimore Sun’s 1991 High School Basketball Player of the Year from St. Frances Academy who later starred at Clemson, died in Atlanta on Saturday after suffering a heart attack, according to a family member. He was 41.

Gray had moved to Atlanta three weeks ago to work at a nightclub as a manager, according to his cousin Zeke Marshall (St.Paul’s), The Sun’s 1988 Basketball Player of the Year.

Friends told Marshall that Gray had played basketball Saturday morning and complained in the afternoon of chest pains. He was driven by friends to a fire station and later transported to WellStar Kennestone Hospital in Marietta, Ga., where he was pronounced dead.

“Devin showed that a kid that people might think couldn’t make it to college could do it,” said Marshall, who attended Cornell.

“He gave hope to Baltimore players that they could do it. We were fortunate in trying to make it out of the inner city. And he went out like any soldier would want to, doing what they do best.”

Gray, a powerful, high-leaping, 6-foot-7 center-forward, averaged 25.6 points, 14.0 rebounds and 6.0 blocks while leading St. Frances to a 19-8 record and the No. 5 ranking in The Sun’s final Top 20 in 1991.

Gray suffered a heart attack in April 1994, during his junior year at Clemson. Gray led the Atlantic Coast Conference in field-goal percentage during that season at 57.2 percent and had a combined 65 points and 25 rebounds in three National Invitation Tournament games. He finished the season with averages of 14.4 points and 6.0 rebounds, both second-best on the team.

He was cleared to play by doctors after the heart attack and returned for his senior year, but played just seven games, averaging 14 points and six rebounds before being declared academically ineligible.

Although Gray was not drafted, he played in the NBA from 1996 to 2000 with the Sacramento Kings (1996-97), the San Antonio Spurs (1996-97) and the Houston Rockets (1999-2000). He also played abroad in France, Spain and Venezuela.

Gray played a total of 27 games in the NBA (starting 2), averaging 2.5 ppg and 1.4 rpg in just 6.4 minutes of time.

Gray is survived by his mother, Patricia, and a sister, Sharnette.


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