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Former Orange Center Dies at Age 29

July 11, 2000

IRVINE, Calif. (AP) _ Former Syracuse University basketball player Conrad McRae collapsed and died Monday at age 29 as he was playing summer league basketball.

McRae died at Irvine Medical Center, said Larry Esslinger, supervising deputy coroner of Orange County. He was taken to the medical center after collapsing at the University of California-Irvine. No other details were immediately available.

McRae, from Brooklyn, N.Y., played for Syracuse from 1989-1993, averaging close to 13 points a game his senior season. He was an intimidating shot blocker and ranks No. 6 all-time in school history in that category with 203 blocks.

He was taken in the second round of the 1993 NBA draft by the Washington Bullets but ended up playing in the Continental Basketball Association and in Europe, where he became an all-star with Istanbul’s Fenerbahnce and Italian Teamsystem Bologna.

McRae was one of 13 players on the roster of an Orlando Magic-affiliated team in the Southern California Summer Pro League in Long Beach.

``It was a huge shock. He was an outstanding young man,″ said Syracuse assistant coach Bernie Fine. ``He was very happy-go-lucky. He always had a smile on his face.

``He was supposed to be getting married Aug. 5. I spoke with him a few weeks ago and he was really excited. He said, `You have to come to the wedding,‴ Fine said. ``All of a sudden he’s gone. It’s a hell of a shock.″

McRae had experienced past health problems. In 1999, he signed a 10-day contract with the Denver Nuggets but it was terminated when he fainted prior to a game.

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