The Chino Hills basketball community grieved Wednesday for Nnamdi Okongwu, a member of the boys team that went to the CIF Southern Section Open Division championship game in March and a Pac-12 prospect. Okongwu was critically injured in a skateboarding accident Tuesday.
Conflicting reports surfaced as to the player’s condition Wednesday evening and early Thursday morning.
A message on the player’s instagram account was posted early Wednesday evening showing “Nnamdi Michael Okongwu, September 20, 1996 – July 16, 2014,” but that same account had a subsequent post after midnight saying, “Please stop telling nnamdi is dead please just pray for him.”
Three television stations and another print publication cited a school official who had confirmed that the player had passed away.
“He was a big presence as a basketball player and an even bigger presence as a person,” said Chino Hills coach Steve Baik, who was on vacation in Hawaii. “It’s kind of staggering to think about right now.”
Okongwu was at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton. Details of the accident were not available.
Baik out of town, so was assistant coach Don Grant. Another assistant, Mel Simms, found out about the accident from a text his daughter received.