Former Gilbert Mesquite High basketball player Cameron Isreal, who helped Phoenix College win a national championship in 2014, died Friday in a car accident.
Isreal was 23. He averaged 16.6 points for NAIA Presentation College as a junior last season. Isreal died along with Presentation College assistant coach Terry Strong as they were traveling from Nebraska, according to reports.
Isreal, who averaged 18 minutes and six points on Phoenix Colleges’ 2013-14 team, overcame two collapsed lungs in his playing career.
“He was a major contributor on our national championship team,” Phoenix College coach Matt Gordon said. “He will be missed but he will never be forgotten. He will always be an inspiration.”
Isreal, who spent his last high school year in Maryland, grew up playing basketball with former Mesa High and Arizona State star point guard Jahii Carson and ex-Mesquite star Isaiah Strong. He graduated from high school in 2010.
Tim Howard, a local private coach, worked with both Carson and Isreal in high school. He called Isreal one of his favorites.
“Cam is one of the most respected athletes I’ve ever met,” Howard said. “He would work out with any NBA, college or high school kids at the drop of a dime when I would call.
“Cam cared about others and was a very selfless basketball player. He always had a smile on his face and had a big heart.”
Isreal was excited about beginning the next chapter in his life at the NAIA college in South Dakota.
“I am honored to have known him and to have coached such a great person and he will always be a part of who I am,” Gordon said.