Basketball star player dies

Feb. 20, 2013 @ 04:16 PM

It was a sad, somber day Wednesday at Westchester Country Day. Even though he hadn’t been a student there for nearly two years, Josh Level was still, in many ways, one of its own.

Now a star basketball player at New Garden Friends, Level, 17, who attended Westchester as a freshman, collapsed during the final minutes of a game at Quality Education Academy in Winston-Salem and died at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center on Tuesday night.

“It’s been very sad today,” Westchester athletic director Adam Schwartz said. Schwartz was assistant athletic director and middle school basketball coach, who also assisted then-coach Pat Kahny with the varsity team from time to time, during Level’s one year at the school.

“People have just kind of been in shock. There have been some tears. The teachers can’t believe it; his classmates can’t believe it either,” Schwartz said.

Level played his freshman season at Westchester. Although he was just a freshman, he made an impact on a team loaded with college talent that won the 2011 NCISAA 2A state championship. But it wasn’t just his basketball talent that made him stand out.

“He was a really nice kid,” Schwartz said. “He was laid-back, always smiling. And he loved basketball. He was just a fun kid. ... He was a typical freshman, in that he occasionally took a play off. But he was a great basketball player.”

After his freshman season, Level transferred to Adren Christ School before returning to the area at New Garden Friends. According to Rivals, a college sports recruiting website, he had received offers from Charlotte, Cleveland State and Oklahoma State, as well as interest from schools including North Carolina State and Wake Forest.

Schwartz said that Level’s death also has made many at the school consider: What if it happened here? He said the most immediate concern has been on helping the kids get through the shock of suddenly losing one of their peers, and counselors have been made readily available to the students.

“The main thing is to help the kids — whatever they need right now,” said Schwartz, who added that current boys basketball coach Dagan Nelson has spoken with the team. “And we’d also like to let Josh’s family know that we’re thinking of them.”

 

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Josh Level, a highly recruited high school basketball player from Greensboro who formerly played at Westchester Country Day School in High Point, died Tuesday night after collapsing during a game.

Level, a junior at the private New Garden Friends School, collapsed during the last few minutes of a game at Quality Education Academy in Winston-Salem, said David Secor, Level's head coach. Level died at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

Level was being recruited by college programs in the ACC and Big 12 and was featured on a number of national Internet recruiting sites. He played at Westchester before moving on to other schools.

Shortly after his death, Level's friends took to Twitter with the hashtag #ripjoshlevel. The hashtag was still trending in Greensboro as of late Wednesday morning.

New Garden Friends is a pre-kindergarten through 12th grade Quaker school founded in 1971. The school made the following statement after Level's death:

"Head of School David Tomlin expressed his deep sadness and shock at the untimely loss of this young man who had already made a tremendous impact on our school community. School will be open today for students, faculty and staff to gather as a community and counselors will be on site for support."