Former Greenbrier High basketball standout Eric Marshall probably died of an enlarged heart, Richmond County Coroner Grover Tuten said Thursday.
Marshall collapsed Wednesday night during a pick-up basketball game at the Warren Road Community Center gym. He was transported to Doctors Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 7:48 p.m.
An autopsy was performed at 9 a.m. Thursday at a Georgia Bureau of Investi-gation Crime Lab. Tuten said the preliminary cause of death was an enlarged heart, and that Marshall probably had the condition for a number of years.
Tuten said Marshall, 24, probably went into cardiac arrest as a result of the stress caused by running up and down the court.
Confirmation is pending toxicology test results, which Tuten said would not be available for five or six months.
A message left with a representative of the Marshall family was not immediately returned Thursday.
Marshall was tapped less than a month ago to serve as an assistant on incoming Greenbrier basketball coach Casey Heckathorn's staff.
"The thing I really hate is that these kids aren't going to get an opportunity to meet and be a part of Eric Marshall's life," Heckathorn said. "He's a role model I can't replace."
Darrin Shine, an employee at the gym who said he played basketball with Marshall growing up, said Marshall would visit the gym about once a week to play pick-up games and run sprints.
Shine said Marshall checked out a basketball from him Wednesday when open play began at 7 p.m. and was playing his second pick-up game when he fell near the baseline.
Shine ran to tell fellow employee Jeremy Williams to call paramedics. Shine then returned to the gym, where he said Marshall appeared to be having a seizure.
Shine opened a side door so that paramedics could enter the gym directly, and he said paramedics performed CPR before Marshall was placed in an ambulance.
Marshall is survived by his wife, Tanya George Marshall, his 5-year-old son, Isaiah, and his infant son, Caleb. Marshall worked as a housing program coordinator with Richmond County Housing and Community Development.
He graduated from Greenbrier in 2003 after playing basketball under coach Garrett Black. He was named Player of the Year by The Columbia County News-Times twice. In 2003, Marshall was named The Augusta Chronicle Boys Basketball Player of the Year. He earned a scholarship to play at Wofford University, where he averaged 10 points a game but was slowed during his final two seasons by knee injuries.
Shine, who played basketball at Richmond Academy and was a year ahead of Marshall, said they played for the same AAU team. Shine said Marshall was excited about his upcoming duties as Greenbrier's assistant basketball coach, and about how he was trying to become certified to teach.
"He was a competitive player," Shine said. "Not even just a great basketball player, he was a great person. Always had a smile on his face."
Reach Stephen Fastenau at (706) 863-6165 ext. 116 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
UPDATE: FUNERAL DETAILS
Funeral details for Eric Marshall were released this morning.
Mr. Marshall, 24, will be buried Thursday following a 1 p.m. funeral service at Whole Life Ministries, 2621 Washington Road, Augusta, said Greenbrier High School basketball coach Casey Heckathorn.
A former basketball star and intended assistant basketball coach at Greenbrier, Mr. Marshall collapsed and died Wednesday while playing basketball at the Warren Road Community Center gym.
Following a Thursday autopsy, Richmond County Coroner Grover Tuten said the preliminary cause of death was an enlarged heart.
A viewing for Mr. Marshall will be held 6-8 p.m. Wednesday at Thomas Poteet and Sons Funeral Home, 214 Davis Road, Augusta.
Mr. Marshall's father Patrick said this morning that a burial site for his son has not yet been determined.
Patrick Marshall said a memorial fund in his son's name has been established to fund a scholarship and to support a non-profit basketball ministry for inner-city youth. Donations can be made to the Eric Marshall Memorial Fund at any area Wachovia bank location, Patrick Marshall said.