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Ater Manyang, former Century star, dead at 24

Century's Ater Manyang is shown dunking during 2011-12 season. According to reports, Manyang, a 2012 Century grad, died late last week.

This story was last updated at 9:45 a.m. Tuesday, March 22.

Former Rochester Century boys basketball star Ater Manyang has died.

Manyang's death was confirmed Monday by the Ramsey County Medical Examiner's office, stating that the 24-year-old died at 4:52 p.m. Friday at Community Addiction Recovery Enterprise in St. Peter. The Star Tribune reported that Manyang's death was a suicide and that he's the fourth patient at a state facility to die by suicide, including one at a Rochester facility, in the past year.

Manyang, a 2012 Century graduate, is the older brother of Akolda Manyang, who plays basketball for the University of Oklahoma. Akolda Manyang was not available for his team's NCAA second-round game Sunday because of what news reports have called "a death in the family." He was reported to have flown to Rochester.

Before the game, Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger told The Oklahoman, "Just devastating news. (Akolda) is shaken up pretty badly about it. … He's lost parents before, a long time ago."


Kruger told the The Oklahoman that there was no timetable for Akolda's return. Oklahoma beat VCU on Sunday and plays Thursday in the Sweet 16. "No idea," Kruger said. "I told (Akolda), 'Whatever you need to deal with this; we're fine.' He said, 'Coach, I just need to be by myself for a little bit.'"

At 4:25 p.m. Saturday, the Manyangs' cousin Moses Issa tweeted on social media: "RIP to my cousin Ater Manyang. You will be missed." Issa is a sophomore at Austin High School. Attempts by the Post-Bulletin to contact him were unsuccessful.

Ater Manyang is statistically the best player in Century High School history. The 6-foot-5 forward was a four-year starter and finished his career as the school's all-time leader in scoring (1,244 points), rebounding and steals.

His senior season ended abruptly late in the year when he was dismissed from the team for breaking a Minnesota State High School League rule. Manyang had hoped to earn a Division I scholarship before that, but those offers disappeared after his infraction.

He played for at least one junior college after graduating from Century, but that didn't last.

Kevin Reid, a former mentor of Manyang's and a Mayo Clinic doctor, noted Manyang's difficult upbringing. He said Ater's mother died when the family was living in Houston after they had left war-torn Sudan. When he was in the eighth grade, Ater moved with family members to Rochester and lived with various families.

Ater "had such a warm heart," Reid said. "At his core, he had a heart of gold."

Mark Kuisle, activities director at Century High School issued a statement on Sunday.


"Our hearts are heavy after learning about the passing of Ater Manyang," the statement read. "He was a part of our Century Panther family and we are saddened by this loss."

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