Caleb White, a 17-year-old basketball player from Pinson Valley High School in Alabama, a senior who was a first-team all-state selection last season as a junior, collapsed and died suddenly during practice on Thursday.
According to his grandfather, George Varnadoe Jr., White was the number 2 point guard in Alabama and the number 25 high school point guard in the nation, so he had a promising future ahead of him when he suddenly and tragically passed. ESPN slightly contradicts Varnadoe’s claim, saying that White was ranked as the No. 3 player in the state and No. 43 in the country.
Varnadoe added that Caleb was also a promising student with other positive personal attributes, saying, “Caleb was an honor student, very respectful, high intellect, excellent role model, phenomenal basketball player.”
Joe Cochran, the Mayor of Pinson, posted about Caleb in a heartwarming and obviously heartfelt post on Facebook. In it, he said, “Heartbroken. No words can be gathered to provide comfort to a family and community experiencing the loss of young life. Please lift Caleb’s family and friends along with the entire PVHS community in prayer for the hours, weeks, months and years ahead. I was honored to know Caleb personally and loved the spirit he carried. Life is fleeting, enjoy every day as the treasure it is, I know Caleb did. Joe Cochran”
Mayor Cochran also posted a video tribute to Caleb on his Facebook page; watch it here:
The cause of Caleb’s death is as yet unknown. ABC News, in an article on his passing, noted that it was a “medical event” and that the coroner’s office is investigating it in a postmortem examination, saying, “The medical event occurred around 1:12 p.m. local time and the 17-year-old was pronounced dead a little over an hour later, according to the Jefferson County Coroner/Medical Examiner’s Office. A postmortem examination will be performed on Friday to help determine the cause and manner of death, the office said.”
Pinson Valley High School Principal Michael Turner spoke about White’s death as well in a letter to parents, saying, “Please know counseling resources will be available for anyone who needs them in the coming days. Please keep the student’s family and our school in your prayers.”
CAleb’s mother released a statement as well, saying, “Caleb was loved by so many. Not only was Caleb a great athlete, he was a great kid. We have received an outpouring of support from the community, his high school and AAU coaches, the Administrative staff at Pinson Valley, the colleges that have recruited or shown interest in him even his barber! We are processing this tragedy as best we can.”
One of White’s childhood friends and fellow athletes spoke about the tragedy too, saying, “Today was just heartbreaking I can’t even put words together for it. Before he left I just told just stay safe, stuff like at. I just, I know i had a dreams of playing basketball, going to the NBA, just to see him what he was doing was amazing. All I could say was tell him to stay safe. My favorite memories with Caleb is probably the first time I played him, I am gonna be honest, his team was stacked. Caleb put 20 points on my head. I lived with it, he was a great kid.”
Featured image credit: screengrab from the embedded video
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