Calistus Anyichie, a star player on the basketball team for St. Mary of the Assumption High School in Elizabeth, drowned Sunday at a state park in Ithaca, New York, authorities there said.
The 19-year-old was a rising sophomore at SUNY Binghamton, where he had made his mark on the court and in the classroom.
“There is no blueprint for how to deal with such a painful loss,” Binghamton basketball head coach Tommy Dempsey said on Twitter. “We all loved Calistus so much. He was such a special young man. We are devastated.”
The Ithaca Fire Department and other agencies were dispatched to Upper Buttermilk State Park around 5 p.m. Sunday on a report of a drowning, authorities there said in a statement.
Aniyichie of Short Hills, who had been pulled from the water by friends and bystanders, was found at the bottom of a 15-foot ravine and was brought to a waiting ambulance with a rope system. He was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital, Syracuse.com reported.
An All-Union County Conference player for St. Mary, he averaged 5.2 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game during his high school career, NJ.com reported.
He was also remembered for his leadership off the courts. His dedication to academics and his demeanor earned him the nickname “Ambassador” during his days at the school.
“If you had to look at somebody to be a great role model, it was Calistus,” Danny Crincoli, St. Mary’s head coach, told NJ.com.
“He was always giving back.”
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