Former South Carolina basketball player Rolando Howell died on Wednesday due to complications from a broken C5 vertebrae, according to former teammate Aaron Lucas.
He was 34.
“He did pass tonight, just a couple of hours ago,” Lucas said late Wednesday night. “We just ask that everybody pray for his family.”
Howell, who played at USC from 2001-04, was paralyzed in an accident in late May and had been recovering at Carolinas Rehabilitation near Charlotte. A GoFundMe account started by Howell’s wife, Reanna Howell, said in an update over three weeks ago that Howell was “giving it all he’s got in rehab” and enjoying all of the supportive messages and condolences. He had been released from the hospital and was home near Columbia.
Howell apparently took a turn for the worse this week, although nobody was certain what happened. Former USC players Lucas and Mike Boynton, among others, were posting condolences on Twitter late Wednesday.
Howell was one of only four McDonald’s All-Americans that attended USC and the third from Columbia. A standout at Lower Richland High, Howell scored 970 points for the Gamecocks, playing alongside brother Ivan Howell and helping USC advance to the 2004 NCAA tournament.
Rolando didn’t play in the tournament due to a fractured wrist that prematurely ended his college career. He still went on to a lengthy pro career playing across Europe and Asia.
Howell moved back to Columbia after retiring. He was dabbling in several business pursuits.
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