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High School Player Dies

December 29, 1995

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) _ A high school basketball player collapsed while on the bench during a tournament game Thursday and died at the hospital.

Greg McDowell, 18, an honors student at McComb High School and a college football prospect, died at Methodist Medical Center.

Witnesses said he was sitting on the bench and fell onto the court during the second quarter of the quarterfinal game against Marshall High School.

McDowell, a forward, had been removed from the game after picking up his second foul. After he collapsed he received emergency treatment from school and medical personnel.

``He was there on the bench for three-four minutes and he fell over,″ said Mark Calhoun, a former McComb assistant principal and McDowell’s track coach during his junior year. ``He folded his arms on his chest and he fell face-first to the floor. He had stopped breathing.″

McDowell’s coach, Hilton Harrell, called him a ``quality young man.″

``We were up 10 points tonight and he was really playing hard,″ the coach said. ``And the last thing Greg said to me was, `Coach, I’m playing so well, please put me back in.′ I said, `Just a minute, Greg,′ and before that minute was up he had collapsed.″

McDowell, whose parents were not at the game, had scored 10 points and made four steals. After a long delay, the game resumed and Marshall won 59-57.

McDowell, 6-foot-3 and 190 pounds, started in football, basketball and track for his school.

A safety, McDowell helped McComb to a 9-5 record and a Class 4A state runner-up finish in football this season. He averaged about 10 points a game at forward in basketball and ran the relays and 400-meter dash in track.

According to Calhoun, Jackson State, LSU, Mississippi State and Mississippi had expressed interest in McDowell in football.

``Greg was a student-athlete in the truest form,″ Calhoun said. ``... He was very popular, a very handsome young man. He was a fierce competitor and a pleasure to coach. He had that mental toughness and leadership ability. He had a way of stepping forward. It’s just devastating. I’m distraught.″

Lee Bramwell coached McDowell in football for two years.

``It’s just real hard for us to reflect on it right now,″ he said. ``He was a great football player and was getting better in basketball and was apparently beginning to reach his peak in basketball.″

The Jackson Public Schools’ Holiday Pepsi Tournament was held at Jackson Forest Hill.