Former Maryland basketball forward LaRon Cephas died yesterday, according to a school spokesman and a news release from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Annapolis and Anne Arundel County, where Cephas worked.
Cephas, 29, collapsed while getting ready to go to work, according to his high school coach, Stan Waterman.
Ed Kelley, who worked with Cephas at the clubs, said employees who went to Anne Arundel Medical Center yesterday morning were told Cephas died of a seizure.
"He's going to be a serious loss as an individual as well as a quality employee," Kelley said. "He was a super guy, always a gentleman with the utmost sincerity and integrity."
Cephas grew up in Wilmington, Del., and was one of three children.
Waterman, Cephas' coach at The Sanford School in Hockessin, Del., said Cephas was home for Easter, "having a good time and everything seemed to be going well."
"It's just shocking," Waterman said. "It's disbelief. He was a picture of health. You just don't think anything like that would ever happen."
Cephas was a backup forward at Maryland from 1997 to 2001 and was on the Terps' first Final Four team as a senior. That year, Cephas played in just 14 games and averaged 4.4 minutes and 1.7 points, but he was a player coach Gary Williams always mentioned the team needed.
"LaRon Cephas was an integral part of our 2001 Final Four team," Williams said. "His attitude and dedication was something coaches wish every player had. You don't have good teams without people such us LaRon Cephas in your program. After graduating from the University of Maryland, he did a tremendous job making a difference with young kids. He was one of my favorite players in 18 years as head coach at the University of Maryland."
Mark Fratto, formerly the assistant director of athletic media relations who is now the associate athletic director for communications at St. John's University, said: "LaRon was one of those guys who didn't play a lion's share of minutes, but everyone respected him because of his work ethic, his character and the things he brought to practice every day - the intangible things you need to be a good teammate and to be a good leader on the team. He was definitely a good person."
After graduating with a degree in communications, Cephas played for 3 1/2 years in Switzerland, Germany and Luxembourg.
"As great a player as he was," Waterman said, "he was an even better person."
Cephas was the program director and athletic director of the Bates Boys & Girls Club since the end of last summer. He lived in Cape St. Claire.
"LaRon was more than a staff member; he was a friend and hero to so many," Reginald Broddie, the chief professional officer of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Annapolis and Anne Arundel County stated in a news release. "In the short period of time that he has worked with us, the number of kids he touched was amazing. He wanted the young people to know that they are special and can achieve above all."