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American hoops player dies in Saudi Arabia

| Thursday, April 3, 2008

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia -- American basketball player Marvin Stone, who died after halftime of a game in Saudi Arabia, collapsed in the locker room while the coach was talking to the team.

Teammate and former NBA player Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf said Wednesday the team, Ittihad, decided to play the second half after Stone was rushed to hospital because "life goes on and we wanted to go out in the hopes of winning it for him."

"We were still hopeful things would turn out positive," Abdul-Rauf told The Associated Press in a phone interview.

The 26-year old Stone played his senior season at Louisville, where he averaged 10.3 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.5 blocked shots in 2002-03.

Louisville spokesman Kenny Klein said Tuesday that Stone died of an apparent heart attack.

Stone's agent, Hirant Manakian, said Stone was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Abdul-Rauf said Ittihad's coach was talking to the team Tuesday in the locker room at Jiddah's Prince Abdullah Al-Faisal Stadium at halftime against Ohud when Stone "started sliding down from bench" and soon "was on to the floor."

"At first I think people thought he was having a seizure," said Abdul-Rauf, of Atlanta. "We put him on floor. I was rubbing his head trying to calm him down and some people were pouring water on his face. Then some five or six guys picked him up and put him in an SUV and they drove him off."

He said the team got word at the end of the game that Stone had passed away.

Stone was a McDonald's All-American at Grissom High in Huntsville, Ala., where he was selected Mr. Basketball in 1999. He spent three seasons at Kentucky before transferring to Louisville.

The English-language Arab News paper said Stone never regained consciousness after collapsing. It quoted Abdul-Rauf as saying no physician was on hand at the sports complex during the game and urged Saudi sports authorities to address this and "provide professional care" at sports facilities as "the rest of the world does."

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