Matt Derenbecker, who played basketball at University of New Orleans, Dayton and Louisiana State , was found dead in a swimming pool on Sunday, the Times-Picayune reports. Derenbecker’s father John Derenbecker confirmed the news.
“We’re just trying to remember the good right now,” the elder Derenbecker told the Times-Picayune. While the cause of death is still unknown and/or undisclosed to the public, Derenbecker told the paper that his son had been battling “demons.” In 2011, Derenbecker left the LSU squad, noting he needed to address some “personal matters,” the Times-Picayune said. The 6-foot-7 forward would later transfer to Dayton before playing for UNO. He ended up leaving the team in January, however, for undisclosed medical reasons, the paper adds.
This weekend, the father of the 22-year-old said his son was house-sitting for a friend, and was discovered in the pool after he did not show up as planned to pick up his girlfriend from the airport, according to CBSSports.com.
“Our UNO family has such a heavy heart today with the loss of Matt. Matt held a special place with so many. Our prayers and thoughts are with his family and loved ones,” UNO Coach Mark Slessinger said in a statement from the school. Slessinger had been in Dallas when he heard the news, comforting another ex-player, Cory Dixon, whose immediate family perished in a vehicle accident on Friday, the Times-Picayune reports.
“Matt had a very special place in all our hearts. It’ll be very difficult to fill. He had a very engaging personality and a great smile and an incredible sense of humor. I enjoyed every second I got to coach him. That’s for sure.”
Derenbecker averaged 10.5 points per game and 5.4 rebounds while at UNO, with his best performance for the team coming “in the toughest of environments,” the school’s statement read. It continued:
[W]hen New Orleans traveled to East Lansing to face the No. 4 Michigan State Spartans in front of 14,797 fans… Derenbecker shot 6-of-13, including four 3-point baskets for a team-high 16 points.