Basketball player

Former Flights basketball player Major Wingate, 37, dies

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee (WATE) – Former Tennessee center Major Wingate, team captain and major contributor in coach Bruce Pearls’ first year with the Flights, has passed away. He was 37 years old.

Wingate and the 2005-06 Vols went 22-8, won the SEC Eastern Division regular season title and seeded No. 2 in the NCAA tournament, seeded the highest in school history. Wingate averaged 10.6 points and 4 rebounds per game that season. He also shot 55.6% from the ground that season and led the team in blocks with 34.

In the NCAA Flights tournament game against Wichita State, Wingate set school tournament records with 5 blocked shots and 5 offensive rebounds.

During his three-year career in Tennessee, Wingate shot 50.9 percent and averaged 6.4 points and 3.2 rebounds. He also blocked 70 shots during his UT career, good enough for the 13th all-time at the end of his time at UT.

Wingate, originally from Florence, SC, graduated from North Gwinnet (Ga.) High School after transferring his final year. He was a 2003 McDonald’s All-America finalist during his senior year.

The school offered its condolences on Saturday.

Wingate was kicked from the team in 2006 after breaking the team’s drug addiction policy. He continued to play professionally overseas and returned to the United States in 2009 after being drafted by Springfield Armor in the NBA Development League Draft.

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