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N.M. Basketball Player Commits Suicide

August 29, 2003

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) _ A University of New Mexico basketball player was found hanged Thursday and police said they suspect he committed suicide.

Sophomore Patrick William Feeney, 20, a transfer from Portland State, was found outside a downtown apartment complex, Police Chief Gil Gallegos said. He said there was no evidence of foul play and no notes were found.

Feeney was a 2001 graduate of Boulder (Colo.) Monarch High School, where he lettered for three years. He was a first team All-Boulder City and honorable mention all-state as a senior. His father, Jim, played basketball at the University of Colorado and the University of Utah.

Coach Ritchie McKay said Feeney told him at about 4 a.m. that he was at a bus station with a ticket to home to Boulder because he had to deal with personal issues. McKay would not elaborate.

``Had we thought he wouldn’t have made it home, we wouldn’t have ended the conversation,″ the coach said during a news conference with police. ``He expressed some personal issues that he wanted to attend to.″

Gallegos said police did not find any notes and the investigation is continuing.

Feeney’s father said his son was home in Boulder for three weeks this month ``and we had a great time.″

``He seemed fine,″ he told The Albuquerque Tribune. ``I don’t know what happened.″

The 6-foot-10 Feeney transferred to New Mexico after the 2001-02 season and would have been eligible to play this fall.

When Feeney transferred, he said he was looking forward to playing at New Mexico.

``And the Pit, I’m really excited about that,″ he said.

Mike Lund, assistant athletic director at Portland State, said Feeney might have transferred because of a coaching change. He also said Feeney wasn’t that happy at an urban, downtown campus.

``Billy was a great kid, a very good student and a very good basketball player,″ Lund said.

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