Jerome Whitehead, who stared on the Marquette University 1977 national championship team and then went on to a 11-year NBA career, reportedly died at his home in California. Whitehead was 56.
According to the Chicago Tribune, “an autopsy found that Whitehead had died from a gastrointestinal hemorrhage related to chronic alcohol abuse, an investigator at the examiner’s office said.”
NBC Sports provides this summary of Jerome Whitehead’s pro career:
“Whitehead was a 6’10 center (and occasional forward) who was drafted in the second round of the 1978 draft by the then San Diego Clippers and went on to play for Utah, Dallas, Golden State and San Antonio. He averaged 6.5 points and 4.8 rebounds a game over the course of his career. In the 1981-82 season he averaged 13.8 points a game for the San Diego Clippers.”
Whitehead is perhaps best known for making a buzzer-beating layup against North Carolina-Charlotte in the 1977 NCAA semifinal game. He averaged about 11 points and rebounds per game during his Marquette career.
Upon the learning of the death of Jerome Whitehead, a Marquette University official said the following according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
“We are deeply saddened by the passing of Jerome Whitehead. Jerome’s game-winning layup in the 1977 national semifinal victory over UNC-Charlotte will forever be celebrated as one of the great plays in our program’s history. He will be missed. Jerome’s family and all of those who knew and loved him are in our thoughts and prayers.”
The current basketball team will observe a moment of silence for Jerome Whitehead on Tuesday night before their game against UConn.
Reportedly Whitehead was dead for about a week when he was discovered by his sister in his residence in suburban San Diego.
Watch Jerome Whitehead’s buzzer beater in the NCAA Tournament: