Nigerian basketball player Michael Ojo has died after suffering heart attack during training, his former club Red Star Belgrade confirmed to ESPN on Friday.
Born in Lagos, Nigeria, the 27-year-old Ojo7-foot-1 center, was conducting an individual practice in Belgrade when he collapsed.
Ojo was taken to a local hospital and could not be resuscitated, according to Serbian news outlets.
Ojo had played professionally in Serbia for the past three seasons since graduating from FSU, where he was named to the ACC academic honor roll after completing a master’s degree in international studies.
He started his professional career with FMP Belgrade and then moved to Red Star Belgrade, which played in the EuroLeague last season.
Visa issues had prevented him from returning to the United States during the coronavirus pandemic, so he continued living in Belgrade while fielding offers from international teams.
He was conducting an individual training session at Partizan Belgrade’s facility when he collapsed.
Ojo’s big break came in 2010 at the Giants of Africa camp, founded by Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri.
After playing football for much of his life, Ojo had a late growth spurt that saw him shoot from 6-6 to 7-1 — opening up opportunities to travel to the U.S. to further his education and try to obtain a college scholarship.
Unpolished as a freshman, Ojo steadily improved and was invited to work out privately for NBA teams following his senior year, when he played an important role defensively for a Florida State team that went 26-9.
A member of FSU’s coaching staff confirmed to ESPN that Ojo had undergone a battery of physical testing during his time in Tallahassee and that he did not show any signs of heart problems during his time in college.Copyright © 2020 Completesports.com All rights reserved. The information contained in Completesports.com may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the prior written authority of Completesports.com.