Originally created 12/16/03

Columbus State team mourns death of captain, cancels games indefinitely

COLUMBUS, Ga. -- The Columbus State University basketball team has canceled its games indefinitely as players mourn the loss of a teammate who collapsed during practice and died Sunday.

Jed Bedford, 21, a prolific 3-point shooter who was a senior team captain, suffered an apparent heart attack during practice at the Lumpkin Center on the Columbus State campus around 4 p.m. Sunday. He was taken to St. Francis Hospital, where he was pronounced dead about an hour later.

Coach Herbert Greene said Monday that the team, which canceled its Tuesday night game against North Carolina Central, was still too distraught to play.

"They're in total shock right now," Greene said. "They were all there and witnessed the whole thing yesterday, and you can imagine what kind of effect that would have on you. Every one of them knew when he hit the floor that something was terribly wrong."

Greene said he would meet with players Tuesday to decide whether to continue with Friday's scheduled game in Jacksonville, Fla. for the North Florida Holiday Classic.

On Monday, Bedford's parents came to town from their home in Leesburg, Fla., to meet with the team and make funeral arrangements.

Greene said Bedford's parents told their son's teammates that he "would want them to get their heads up and move on and take care of business."

The women's basketball team, which had just finished practice on the court when Bedford collapsed, also canceled its Monday game but planned to resume playing Wednesday, Greene said.

Muscogee County Coroner James Dunnavant said Bedford's heart was enlarged up to three times its normal size at the time of his death.

Dunnavant said an autopsy was being performed Monday to determine what caused the enlargement. He said it may have been a hereditary ailment.

Bedford, who transferred to Columbus State from Gulf Coast Community College in Panama City, Fla., led his team to a top 10 ranking last season and led NCAA Division II schools with 135 3-point goals.

"Jed had a way of getting this little sheepish grin on his face in a game and this look of unbelievable focus in his eyes," Columbus State sports information director Mike Peacock said in a statement Monday. "When he got that look, he had the ability to single-handedly take over a game. And he did - several times."

Bedford's popularity was illustrated when he was named Columbus State's male athlete of the year for 2002 - an honor rarely given to players in their first year at the school.

Greene said he remembered Bedford as "an outstanding young man who loved this game, made excellent grades, had a very infectious smile about him."

Bedford scored a school-record 617 points last season as he earned All-Peach Belt Conference and All-South Atlantic Region honors. He also was named MVP of the Peach Belt tournament last season.

This season, Bedford was averaging 21.4 points per game. He scored 13 points with 11 assists and seven steals in his last game, a win over North Carolina-Pembroke on Dec. 6.

Greene said Bedford's funeral would be held this weekend in Leesburg.


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