Sad news to report: Chino Hills community grieves for boys basketball player Nnami Okongwu following skateboard accident; conflicting reports on status


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.

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  • reality

    Absolutely tragic. Give your sons and daughters an extra hug tonite and keep the Okongwu family in your prayers.

  • Nomoredrama

    As a parent, this is unthinkable, unimaginable. I did not know this young man nor his family, but, my sincere condolenses go out to the family.

  • 1st and goal

    Such sad and tragic news. Deepest condolences to the Okongwu family in this tough moment.

  • AramT

    Things like this happen and it makes me question how God can be so cruel. I have no more answers … just bewilderment.

    • Steve Ramirez

      God is not cruel. He loves us all and gives us the freedom of our choices. While this seems tragic, remember it’s not a death, but a new beginning in Heaven. My prayers are with the Okongwu family.


        Thank you Steve for replying to that! God be with the Okongwu Family at this tragic time.

      • ie baller

        Well said Steve. What exactly did God have to do with this? Nothing, it was a tragic accident, as very little details have been made known. What one can speculate, since skateboarding was involved, is he was not wearing a helmet. God is not cruel, we are victims of our own choices and the consequences of those choices. As a father of 3, I can only offer prayers and sympathy to the family and friends of this youngster.

      • AramT

        OK, then explain the bus accident up north that killed so many. Explain the woman in Stockton who worked at a bank and was shot and killed after being taken hostage. Were these all choices or fluke circumstances nobody had control over?

        To sit here and say God is this all-powerful divine being on one hand then give him ZERO blame or culpability when things like this happen is pure garbage.

        To try and explain away these tragedies along those lines is pure folly. I get it, humans need something to reach out to in the face of inexplicable tragedy. Saying it was God’s plan or God’s will is just not acceptable for me any longer.

        • ie baller

          You brought God into this, actually blaming him for a kid having an accident on a skateboard. So it was Gods fault a truck driver crossed the freeway for whatever reason and crashed into a bus? So it was Gods fault a lady was at work and a group of criminals went into the bank and robbed it? led the police on a pursuit, shooting at the police? So you want to say where is God during all this and these other tragic events, but do you praise him when all is going well? Can’t have it one way. Again, peoples choices led to those events. Please don’t be so simple minded and try and twist this into what about the victims, the truck driver made a choice, the bank robbers made a choice that had consequences attached to it that effected the innocent. Man, not God, made those choices.

        • FredJ

          This is not the forum, time or place to debate or challenge people’s belief in God or religion on a thread where people are offering thoughts and prayers for this unthinkable tragedy. Those comments are better suited for a Bill Maher thread, not this high school blog.

        • The truth and nothing but…

          Aram, I agree with you. Just like the coach or QB, if they get the credit when the team wins than they must also take the blame when the team loses.

  • WCDan

    How freakish and tragic, I can’t imagine anything worse than losing my son or daughter, my deepest condolences to the parents and family.

  • AMAT 73

    Very sad news for Okongwu Family and Friends . This is the worst situation for any parent to have to go thru , Prayers and condolences to the Family and Friends of this young man .

    • 1st and goal

      Bro I need to talk to you. How can I get your number privately.

  • no-step

    This tragedy brings me to tears.