Photo courtesy Dayton Basketball via Twitter
Dayton center Steve McElevene collapsed and died Thursday morning at his family’s home in New Haven, Ind. He was 20.
The cause was believed to be an enlarged heart. An autopsy and investigation into his death are ongoing. Results will be released at a later date.
“We are devastated at this news,” teammate Archie Miller said in a statement. ”Any death is a tragedy, but for someone so young who worked so hard to have his dreams within reach, it’s hard to put into words how painful this is. Our hearts and prayers go out to Steve’s family. My family, our team and our staff will have to pull together, not only in support of Steve’s family, but in support of each other at this terrible time.”
As a redshirt freshman, McElevene averaged 6.1 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game. He set Dayton’s single-season record for blocks with 55, passing Chris Wright. He tied the school record for blocks in a game with six against Saint Louis.
The 6-11 center was part of a Flyers team that 25-7 and earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Twenty years ago, Dayton center Chris Daniels died of natural causes due to an irregular heartbeat in February 1996. He went to sleep the night before a game against LaSalle and never woke up. Dayton renamed their Most Improved Player Award following the 1995-96 season in honor of Daniels. Chosen by the coaches, it goes to the player who develops the most over the course of a season.
Daniels more than tripled his points per game from his junior season in his senior season. Daniels also doubled his rebounding average and was shooting 69% when he passed away.