Newberry College men's basketball player Kendrick Johnson dies in accident at 23

Newberry College men's basketball player Kendrick Johnson dies in accident at 23
Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Newberry College men's basketball team and entire Newberry College family suffered a tragic loss late Friday when rising senior Kendrick Johnson died in an accident in Anderson County. He was 23.

Johnson, the school's all-time leading shot blocker, drowned in the backyard pool of his girlfriend's family near Pendleton. Authorities were called to the home just after 8 p.m., and Johnson, according to a report in the Anderson Independent-Mail, died Friday evening at AnMed Health Medical Center. The death was ruled accidental according to Anderson County coroner Greg Shore. Shore reported that neither drugs or alcohol were involved in the accident.

“Kendrick was an outstanding young man, and there are no words to describe the tragedy of losing such a fine young person,” said Newberry College athletic director Brad Edwards. “He will be greatly missed by everyone in the Newberry College family.”

Johnson was expected to be a key contributor for the scarlet and gray in 2009-10 after an already stellar three years at Newberry. He became the school's all-time leading shot blocker as a sophomore and climbed into the NCAA Division II record books during his junior campaign.

He blocked 235 shots in his career, which ranks him second in the history of the South Atlantic Conference and 24th in NCAA Division II. He blocked 97 shots as a junior and 95 shots as a sophomore to rank fourth and fifth in SAC history for individual seasons.

Johnson, who was originally from Orangeburg, was a member of the South Atlantic Conference all-freshman team in 2006-07.

Services for Johnson will be held at Orangeburg's Howard Middle School on Friday, June 5, at 11 a.m. The school is located at 1255 Belleville Road. Simmons Funeral Home of Orangeburg will handle the funeral arrangements. For more information on the service, please contact Simmons at (803) 534-2646. Visitation will be held at Simmons Funeral Home from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday.