March 26 (UPI) — Grand Canyon forward Oscar Frayer has died from injuries caused by a car crash, three days after his team played in the 2021 NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament. He was 23.
The Grand Canyon athletic department announced Frayer’s death Thursday in a news release. Frayer, his older sister Andrea Moore and a friend died in the crash, which occurred about 2:30 a.m. MDT Tuesday near Lodi, Calif.
California Highway Patrol said in a statement that two officers had stopped to assist a disabled tractor-trailer in one of the lanes of Interstate 5 when a 2021 Subaru hit the back of their police car. The Subaru, which held Frayer and the two other passengers, then hit a tree. All three occupants were pronounced dead at the scene.
Two officers also were taken to the hospital and had “major injuries,” but are expected to survive.
Iowa beat Grand Canyon in the First Round of the NCAA tournament Saturday in Indianapolis.
“We love O,” Grand Canyon coach Bryce Drew said. “He was the heartbeat of our team with his vibrant, energetic personality. I cannot put into words the hurt and sadness we all feel, but we know he is in heaven and that gives us great joy to know we will be together again.”
Grand Canyon said Frayer was one of the “most well-liked students” on the school’s Phoenix campus. The Oakland, Calif., native, earned a degree in communications and was set to walk in April at a commencement ceremony.
“The memories that you have created for everyone on this team are ones that we will all carry so close to our hearts,” fellow Grand Canyon forward Gabe McGlothan wrote on Instagram.
“The impact you had. … I don’t even think you realized. The way you spoke; the way you embodied brotherhood, family; and the way you chased the faith; it had shined into everyone’s heart.”
Frayer holds the Grand Canyon’s Division I-era record for career blocked shots and ranks fourth in points scored and 3-pointers made.
“On the court, Oscar was known as the ‘High Flyer’ and will be remembered for his soaring dunks, tenacious defense and game-changing blocked shots,” Grand Canyon said in a statement.
“Off the court, he will be remembered for his infectious smile, energetic spirit and caring soul that made him one of the most well-liked students on campus.”
Grand Canyon will have a celebration of life ceremony at 7 p.m. EDT Tuesday at GCU arena. The ceremony, open to students, friends and families, will stream on YouTube.