Devin Butts, a 22-year-old basketball player for North Carolina Central University (NCCU), passed away on Friday, May 5, 2023. His death shocked and saddened his family, friends, teammates, and fans. But what was the cause of death for the young athlete who had a promising future ahead of him?
A Sudden Collapse
According to The News & Observer, Butts collapsed during a pick-up game at the campus gym earlier in the week. He was rushed to a hospital, where he remained in critical condition until he died on Friday. The exact cause of his collapse and death has not been determined yet.
Butts’ coach, LeVelle Moton, told the newspaper that he was unaware of any pre-existing medical conditions that could have contributed to Butts’ collapse. He said that Butts was a healthy and fit young man who loved basketball and life.
“He was just playing basketball and fall out,” Moton said. “It’s just so hard for me to even come to grips with right now.”
A Remarkable Career
Butts was born on November 2, 2000, in Macon, Georgia. He attended Stratford Academy, where he was a three-star prospect and a standout player. He committed to Mississippi State in 2019, but later transferred to Louisiana-Lafayette, New Mexico Junior College, and finally NCCU.
He made 17 appearances for the Eagles last season, averaging 5.4 points per game. He was known for his sharp shooting from beyond the arc, making 24-of-69 3-pointers while shooting 34.8 percent from long range.
His best performance came on March 8, 2023, when he scored 15 points on five made 3-pointers in a win over Delaware State in the quarterfinals of the MEAC Championship. He was on track to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in behavioral and social sciences this summer.
A Devastating Loss
Butts’ death has left a void in the hearts of many who knew and loved him. His family, friends, teammates, coaches, and fans have expressed their grief and condolences on social media and other platforms.
NCCU’s athletic director, Louis Perkins, said that Butts was an incredible young man who had a bright future ahead of him.
“He was a great student-athlete who had an infectious smile at all times,” Perkins said. “He will be greatly missed by everyone in the NCCU family.”
Butts’ former high school coach, Jamie Dickey, said that Butts was a joy to coach and a leader on and off the court.
“He was one of those kids that you just loved being around,” Dickey said. “He had a great personality, a great work ethic, and a great passion for the game.”
Butts’ former teammate at NCCU, C.J. Keyser, said that Butts was his brother and his best friend.
“He was always there for me no matter what,” Keyser said. “He always had my back and always pushed me to be better. He was more than a teammate, he was family.”
Butts’ legacy will live on in the memories of those who knew him and in the records he set on the court. He will always be remembered as a talented and beloved basketball player who touched many lives with his smile and his spirit.