Freak Accident Leaves High School Basketball Star Brain Dead

The family of 17-year-old Nnamdi Okongwu was deciding whether or not to take him off life-support Wednesday night.

By John Cádiz Klemack and Samia Khan
|  Thursday, Jul 17, 2014  |  Updated 4:45 PM PDT
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A Chino Hills High School basketball and college prospect is on life support after a skateboarding accident. John Cádiz Klemack reports from Chino Hills for the NBC4 News at 11 on Wednesday, July 16, 2014.

John Cádiz Klemack, Rodney Danson, Kenny Holmes, Sue Monroe

A Chino Hills High School basketball and college prospect is on life support after a skateboarding accident. John Cádiz Klemack reports from Chino Hills for the NBC4 News at 11 on Wednesday, July 16, 2014.

A Chino Hills High School basketball star is on life support after a freak accident that left him brain dead Tuesday.

Nnamdi Okongwu, 17, was involved in a skateboard accident at Ruben S. Ayala Park, according to Chino Hills High assistant basketball coach Mel Sims.

"We need a miracle right about now," Sims said.

Okongwu's family told NBC4 that he doesn't have any brain activity. Coaches and friends were praying for the 6-foot-9 athlete Wednesday night.

"He truly, genuinely cared about everybody that was around him," teammate Chazz Smith said. "(He had) a very bright future ahead of him."

Okongwu was considered a basketball standout with a promising career. He was already being closely watched by Pac-12 teams. His senior year, which was supposed to start this fall, was going to be his breakthrough year, coaches said.

"He just made you feel good when you (were) around him," Chino Hills High baseball coach Kyle Billingsley said.

Sims described Okongwu as someone with a "charismatic smile" and a person that was "just a joy to be around."

"You hate to see this happen," Sims said.

Friend Jared Nyivih, who has known Okongwu since the sixth grade, said Okongwu "was just one of the nicest kids you could meet."

"(Everyone) knew him, they liked him, they loved him," Nyivih said. "He was a very nice guy, a very good basketball player."

Okongwu’s family was deciding whether or not to take him off life-support Wednesday night.

"I don’t think it’s sunk in for all of us yet, this, what really happened," Smith said. "We’ll never forget him, I know that for a fact."

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