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SHS basketball player O'jaryn Reese passes away
Statesboro High's OJ Reese, left, battles Lifetime Christian's DeMarcus Harley for a rebound during the fourth quarter on Friday, December 27, 2019. (Statesboro Herald photo/Scott Bryant, staff)

O'jaryn Reese, a rising senior at Statesboro High and a member of the Blue Devil basketball team died Friday afternoon, after passing out in the middle of a game in the Atlanta area.

Reese plays on the Georgia Suns, which is an AAU team with three other members of the Statesboro basketball team. They were competing Friday in an an Exposure Tournament, The Hoopseen Showcase in Suwanee. Statesboro coach Marty Holder received a phone call Friday afternoon around 3 pm from a couple of Reese’s teammates who were frantically trying to call his mother.

“Joe Kilcup and Henry Humphries called me around 3 looking for O.J’s mother's phone number,” Holder said. “They told me that he had fallen out in the middle of a game and was unresponsive. He was breathing while he was on the ground, but some time between the paramedics getting there and him getting to the hospital he passed away.”

Statesboro High Athletics Director Patrick Hill released a statement: “Statesboro High School is shocked and saddened by the news of O.J.’s passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with O.J.’s family in this difficult time.“

The tournament was actually taking place in Suwanee, about 30 miles from Atlanta. Reese was one of four Blue Devils on the team, which included Kobe Altman, Kilcup and Humphries. The other three players were all still in Atlanta according to Holder.

Holder had a chance to talk with Reese’s mother, as well as Humphries’ mother. He also broke the news to Statesboro assistant coach Horace Harvey. Statesboro head coach Lee Hill remains in East Georgia Regional Medical Center recovering from COVID-19, and had not been informed of the news as of Friday evening.

According to Holder, Reese had never had any health issues.

“It was devastating news,” Holder said. “I just couldn’t believe it when I found out. Our prayers go out to O.J.’s family.”

There is no word as of Friday night as to visitation or funeral service. If any information becomes available we will have it at