Oyedeji dies after head-on collision

Updated: May 17, 2010, 12:09 PM ET
By Andy Katz | ESPN.com

Tobi Oyedeji dropped his last friend off after prom night, called his father Mike and told him he was on his way home early Sunday morning.

The 18-year-old power forward from Bellaire High in Bellaire, Texas, who at 6-foot-9 and 220 pounds was destined to be an impact player for Texas A&M in the fall and committed to studying engineering -- never made it to his house.

[+] EnlargeTobi Oyedeji
Dustin Snipes/Icon SMIMark Turgeon last saw Tobi Oyedeji at a workout in April and said he told his assistant coaches that Oyedeji was going to help the Aggies quite a bit next season.

Oyedeji was involved in a head-on collision shortly after the phone call home and died after attempts at life-saving surgery weren't successful Sunday afternoon, according to Texas A&M coach Mark Turgeon.

"He was an only child," a distraught Turgeon said of Oyedeji, whose parents, Mike and Nikki, are said to be in immense emotional pain. "This is really tough on them. I'm just hurting so much for his mom and dad right now."

Turgeon was in California early Sunday morning when he received the first phone call that Oyedeji had been in an accident and was in intensive care heading into surgery. Turgeon said a few hours later, as he was boarding his flight back to Houston, he was told that Oyedeji died.

"I loved that kid," Turgeon said. "I loved that kid. This is really, really hard."

According to the police report, details of which were posted on the Houston Press' website, Oyedeji left his lane, crossed over a grassy media and into oncoming traffic. The Toyota he was driving struck a Jeep Patriot head-on, and then a Honda Civic.

The driver of the Jeep, a 50-year-old woman, was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the Honda was treated at the scene.

Hal Pastner, who runs Houston Hoops, an AAU program Oyedeji played for, was crushed as well when he was told the news on Sunday afternoon.

Turgeon said Oyedeji was the first player he recruited when he took the job three years ago.

"This has been a three-year relationship, we were really close," Turgeon said. "From the first day he came to our camp, I knew he was coming to Texas A&M. He was going to be an engineer. This was the perfect place for him."

Turgeon last saw Oyedeji at a workout in April and said he told his assistant coaches that Oyedeji was going to help the Aggies quite a bit next season. Oyedeji had been on campus apparently five to seven times a season in the past three years.

"He was going to be a big part of our program," Turgeon said. "More than just basketball, his personality, his character, he would have helped us in so many ways. He was a great student. He epitomized the values we have here."

Turgeon said details on the memorial service will be provided early this week. He added that the Aggies will do something in memory of Oyedeji next season, but to what extent and how it will be done is still undetermined.

Andy Katz is a senior writer for ESPN.com.

Andy Katz | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com