(MCT) — NORMAL — Dana Ford said he has a lot of memories about his friend and former Illinois State basketball teammate, Nedu Onyeuku.
“And they’re all good,” added Ford, who is now ISU’s associate head coach.
Onyeuku, 29, was shot and killed last week while breaking into a home in Plano, Texas, according to police in the suburb of Dallas.
The shooter said he saw Onyeuku and another unidentified man break his glass patio door and try to enter the home about 3 a.m. on Nov. 21. Police said the other burglar ran away after Onyeuku was shot multiple times. Onyeuku was pronounced dead at the scene.
Ford found out about the incident when ISU arrived in Texas on the same day for the South Padre Island Invitational and was stunned.
“It’s a tragedy what happened,” said Ford on Thursday. “I’m sorry for his family, particularly his two sons. I hope they can find a way to deal with this tragedy and move on.”
Onyeuku, a 6-foot-3 guard, played for the Redbirds in the 2004-05 and ’05-06 seasons after transferring from Iowa Western Community College. He was a starter as a senior and averaged 7.3 points and 2.4 rebounds.
While at ISU, Onyeuku and Ford were roommates. They kept up their friendship after graduating from ISU.
“I talked to Nedu regularly,” said Ford. “I got married in August and he was supposed to be one of the groomsmen, but he had an unfortunate situation with his son two days before the wedding and could not attend.”
Onyeuku was born in Lagos, Nigeria, but moved to the United States when he was 6 as his family settled in Omaha, Neb. After his ISU career was finished, Onyeuku played overseas in several countries and also for the Nigeria national team.
Ford said Onyeuku had talked to him recently about trying to get into coaching.
Plano police told the Dallas Morning News that the burglary and shooting were still being investigated and didn’t appear to be random. Details were not released until this week because police said they needed to collect some “critical information” before it went public.
Onyeuku is survived by his two sons, Isaiah Jeremiah Onyeuku and Chinedu Jeremiah Onyeuku Jr.; his sons’ mother and his companion, Tiaira Erwin; his parents, Saul and Josephine Onyeuku; and two sisters.
A visitation for Onyeuku will be held Friday in Omaha, with church services on Saturday.