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A Very Sad Week For College Basketball

What a week of loss we’ve had.

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Washington Wizards v Portland Trail Blazers
 PORTLAND, OR - MARCH 4: Caleb Swanigan #50 of the Portland Trail Blazers looks on during the game against the Washington Wizards on March 4, 2020 at the Moda Center Arena in Portland, Oregon.
Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images

There has been too much death in the college basketball world this week. UNC great Lennie Rosenbluth is understandable. The man was 89.

But former Purdue star Caleb Swanigan was just 25 and Houston Baptist star Darius Lee was just 21.

Lee was basically in the wrong place at the wrong time. At home in Harlem for the summer, he was, tragically, caught up in a shooting. Eight others were hit; only Lee died. It’s a terrible blow for Houston Baptist in a competitive sense but is bound to be absolutely shattering for his teammates and coaches. How do you make sense of that? It’s incomprehensible. From all accounts, all he wanted to do was go to school and play ball. And now he’s gone, just like that.

And Swanigan’s death, apparently from natural causes, is also hard to accept. There is no official cause released yet, but multiple articles suggest that his weight, something he had always struggled with, had gotten out of control again. He’s not the most reliable source, but Gregg Doyel suggests that Swanigan, who has been out of basketball for the last two years, was up to 400 lbs. Swanigan’s father, who was also tall (6-8) had similar issues and weighed around 500 lbs. at his death.

With natural causes being listed, it won’t be surprising if weight isn’t at least a contributing factor.

The saddest thing is that Swanigan had overcome so much. He had a childhood, if you can call it that, that Charles Dickens would have had a hard time believing. He worked so hard and seemed like a genuinely nice person that everyone pulled for. We don’t know for sure but our guess is that even Indiana fans liked him or at least appreciated his extraordinary story.

Rosenbluth, as we said, lived a natural life and a long one. That wasn’t the case for Lee or Swanigan. Neither deserved to die. Your heart really goes out to their families and loved ones.