Players and coaches honor memory of Charlotte player who died at Nike Elite Youth Basketball Tournament
A player from Team United, a Charlotte AAU program, collapsed and died Saturday night at a Nike Elite Youth Basketball League event at the Boo Williams Sports Complex in Hampton, Va., Team United director Jacoby Davis confirmed.
James Hampton, a senior at Liberty Heights, a private school in Charlotte, collapsed on the court during a game against Nike Phamily, the AAU team for which Marvin Bagley Jr., the father of former Duke star Marvin Bagley III, is the director. Bagley Jr. was not at the event, but his son Marcus plays on the Phamily team.
According to Davis, Hampton was running down the floor and looked at a nearby referee. Hampton said, “Hey, ref,” and then collapsed.
Hampton appeared unconscious as medical personnel ran on to the court to assist him. Chest compressions were administered. His teammates and coaches first gathered on their bench across the court, many in tears. Hampton was taken by ambulance from the arena.
Davis said Hampton had suffered seizures in the past.
“He just fell down on the floor,” Davis said. “He had seizures a year ago and I remember (one of the Team United coaches) telling me that, ‘I saw his eyes rolling back in his head.’ I ran on the court thinking he was having a seizure. A trainer came over and said he didn’t know what was wrong. Another trainer checked his pulse. He said he didn’t have a pulse. It got crazy after that.”
Hampton's AAU teammates and family stood vigil at Sentara CarePlex Hospital, which is less than a mile from the arena. Hampton’s parents were not in Virginia for the game, Davis said.
“It’s hard to even explain,” Davis said. “To have a kid in your program with so much life, that’s just the kind of kid he was. He was always happy. For something like this to happen, I can’t even explain it, and to have to talk to a parent not even in town and tell him that his son has died, well, that’s more devastating.”
Davis said the Team United players wanted to stay in Virginia and finish the tournament Sunday, in Hampton’s honor.
“They want to play Sunday,” Davis said. “They really want to finish it up. The coaches are just torn up right now. So it’s going to be tough, but it’s what the kids want to do."
Team United is scheduled to play Sunday at 11 a.m. against All Ohio Red and at 5 p.m. against the Minnesota-based Howard Pulley.
Saturday night's game against Nike Phamily was Team United's second of the day. Hampton did not play in the first game.