One of the finest shooters in Cyclone men’s basketball history and a member of the Iowa State Hall of Fame, Dedric Willoughby passed away yesterday at the age of 49.
Willoughby only spent two seasons playing at Iowa State. He started his career at New Orleans under future Cyclone head coach Tim Floyd, but before the 1995–96 season, Willoughby transferred to Iowa State after Floyd accepted the position at Iowa State in 1994.
We send our sympathies to Dedric Willoughby’s family and friends during this difficult time. Keep reading to know more about Dedric Willoughby and his cause of death in detail.
Who was Dedric Willoughby?
Dedric Demond Willoughby was an American professional basketball player.
Guard Willoughby, who stands 6’3″, started his collegiate basketball career at the University of New Orleans before transferring to Iowa State.
Tim Floyd was his coach at both institutions. Willoughby finished second in the voting for the Big 12 Conference Player of the Year in each of his two seasons at Iowa State. He scored 18.9 points per game on average as a senior and connected on 45% of his three-point shots.
The Cyclones astonished the nation by placing second in the Big Eight (9-5) despite being predicted to finish last in the final season of the Big Eight Conference thanks to Willoughby and superb teammates Kelvin Cato, Kenny Pratt, Shawn Bankhead, and Jacy Holloway.
In 1996, Willoughby led the team to its first-ever Big Eight Conference playoff tournament victory as the Big Eight Newcomer of the Year. Willoughby calmly made two crucial free throws in the waning seconds of the Big Eight Tournament title game to help the Cyclones defeat No. 5 Kansas 56-55. He received the tournament MVP award.
The Cyclones again finished near the top of the league rankings in Willoughby’s senior year (1996–1997), finishing tied for third in the Big 12’s inaugural season with a record of 10–6. They also climbed as high as No. 4 in the AP poll. Willoughby is known for his effortless jump shot. He was incredibly precise and had a rapid release, making 190 3-pointers in his career at a nearly 40% clip.
For many years, Willoughby’s nine 3-pointers against No. 1 Kansas in Hilton Coliseum in 1997 served as the institution’s benchmark. His senior year saw him make 102 3-pointers, which currently stands as the ISU single-season record. In Willoughby’s final season, Iowa State made it to the NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen.
Willoughby scored 34 points and nailed eight 3-pointers against UCLA in his final game for the Cyclones, who lost 74-73 on a last-second shot, missing the chance to move to the Elite Eight.
His 34 points against UCLA tied a Cyclone record for most ever in an NCAA Tournament game. In 1997, Basketball Times named Willoughby to their Second Team All-Americans.
He finished his career as the first Cyclone player to surpass 1,000 points (1,186) in just two seasons.
Willoughby, who had previously played professionally in Italy, was reunited with coach Tim Floyd when he was drafted by the Chicago Bulls for the 1999–2000 NBA season.
He made 25 appearances that season, including one start, and scored 7.6 points on average. Willoughby joined the Australian National Basketball League’s Sydney Kings for the next season.
However, he suffered a knee injury during practise and was soon released off. Later, Willoughby worked as a basketball coach for the All-Iowa Attack youth league in Ames, Iowa.
How did Dedric Willoughby die?
On Thursday, July 20, 2023, Dedric Willoughby, a former American professional basketball player, passed away suddenly at the age of 49.
In a statement announcing Willoughby’s passing, Iowa State University said:
“Dedric Willoughby, an Iowa State Hall-of-Famer and one of the greatest shooters in Cyclone men’s basketball history, died yesterday at the age of 49.
A native of New Orleans, Willoughby was the linchpin on two of Iowa State’s most successful teams in 1995-96 and 1996-97, earning first team all-league honors and leading the team in scoring (20.5 ppg; 18.9 ppg) both seasons.
Willoughby played just two seasons at Iowa State. He began his career at New Orleans for future Cyclone head coach Tim Floyd, but when Floyd took the Iowa State job in 1994, Willoughby transferred to Iowa State prior to the 1995-96 season.
Iowa State was picked to finish last in the final season of the Big Eight Conference, but with Willoughby, and outstanding teammates Kelvin Cato, Kenny Pratt, Shawn Bankhead and Jacy Holloway, the Cyclones shocked the nation by finishing second in the Big Eight (9-5).
Willoughby was the Big Eight Newcomer of the Year and the catalyst in the school’s first-ever Big Eight Conference postseason tournament title in 1996.
In the final Big Eight Tournament championship game, Willoughby calmly sank two clutch free-throws in the final seconds to propel the Cyclones to victory over No. 5 Kansas, 56-55. He was named MVP of the tournament.
In Willoughby’s senior season (1996-97), the Cyclones rose as high as No. 4 in the AP poll and again placed near the top of the league standings, tying for third in the inaugural season of the Big 12 at 10-6.
Willoughby is remembered for his smooth jumpshot. He had a quick release and was extremely accurate, drilling 190 3-pointers at a near-40-percent clip during his career. Willoughby’s nine 3-pointers vs. No. 1 Kansas in Hilton Coliseum in 1997 stood as the school standard for many years.
He made 102 3-pointers in his senior season, a total which still ranks No. 1 on ISU’s single-season record chart.
Iowa State advanced to the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament in Willoughby’s final season. In his last game as a Cyclone, Willoughby made eight 3-pointers and scored 34 points against UCLA, as the Cyclones lost on a last-second shot (74-73) to miss out on the opportunity to advance to the Elite Eight.
His 34 points vs. UCLA equals the most by a Cyclone in a NCAA Tournament game.
Willoughby was named a Second Team All-American by Basketball Times in 1997 and ended his career as the first player in Cyclone history to score over 1,000 points (1,186) in just two seasons.
Willoughby played professionally for a number of years, making his NBA debut in 1999-2000 with the Chicago Bulls, reuniting with Floyd, who left Iowa State after the 1997-98 season to coach the Bulls. He averaged 7.6 points in his lone season in the NBA.
Willoughby was named to Iowa State’s All-Century men’s basketball team in 2008 and was inducted into the Iowa State Athletics Hall of Fame in 2012.”
A Facebook tribute to the legend was also posted by Iowa State Men’s Basketball.
In 2012, Willoughby became a member of Iowa State’s Athletic Hall of Fame. He was chosen for the men’s basketball All-Century team for the Cyclones in 2008.
In Cyclone men’s basketball history, Willoughby is regarded as one of the best shooters. In each of his two seasons with the Iowa State team, he was named to the first team of the conference and led the squad in scoring.
The funeral arrangements for Dedric Willoughby will be made public at a later time, according to the family. This suggests that the family is making preparations and will give the required information about his passing and the planned burial ceremony as soon as possible.
Dedric Willoughby cause of death
We’re sorry to have to inform you that Dedric Willoughby has passed away. Dedric Willoughby was regarded as having a friendly personality. Many people must be curious to know the Dedric Willoughby cause of death in light of the recent news.
Dedric Willoughby, an All-Century men’s basketball player for Iowa State, passed away from a heart attack. He died while playing basketball.
A point guard for the Cyclones under Tim Floyd from 1995 to 1997, who later played for Floyd with the Chicago Bulls. Willoughby passed away while playing pick-up basketball close to his Atlanta home.
Floyd, who verified that Willoughby passed away from a heart attack, remarked that “Dedric just meant so much to my coaching career and our team.”
“He had one of the quickest releases of his shot of anyone I coached – in college or in the pros. Incredible intensity. He had an uncanny ability to get his 3-point shot off as quick as anyone I saw.”
Tributes to Dedric Willoughby
The passing of Dedric Willoughby has sparked an outpouring of sympathy for the Willoughby family from the basketball community and beyond.
Amanda Brink Hull wrote: “My heart is breaking for Iowa and ISU fans (and these two athletes’ families) this week. Saturday, former Iowa Hawkeyes football player Cody Ince (age 23) was found dead in his home; cause unknown. And now (this just in) former Iowa State basketball star and Hall of Famer Dedric Willoughby (age 49) died last night of a heart attack while playing in a pickup basketball game near his neighborhood. Sad. Very very sad. 23 or 49; both way too young. “
Abdul Williams wrote: “I lost a close friend yesterday and it hurt me to my soul to know we was just at my house chilling and drinking a beer together while I was jailbreaking your firestick means a lot to me but to know u no longer with me bro hurts so much… R.I.H my bro Dedric Willoughby (Shooter)”
One of the worst things anyone can go through in life is losing a loved one. Any journey must have a destination at the end. The person’s time on earth has regrettably come to an end now that they have died. We wish him eternal peace and send our thoughts and prayers to his loved ones, family, friends.
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