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Phoenix teen dies while playing basketball at school

PHOENIX — A 15-year-old boy collapsed and later died while playing in a pickup basketball game at a westside high school.

Ameil “Shaq” Watson died Monday in a hospital. The sophomore had collapsed in the gym at Cesar Chavez High School at 39th Avenue and Baseline Road.

Authorities were told the 6-foot-5, 185-pound teen had become fatigued while playing, went to the sideline and fell. Coaches performed CPR and called for help.

Classmate Tre Evans said Watson was “a prankster and just cool to be around.” The two had spoken earlier in the day.

“(If he were here) I’d tell him I’m going to miss him,” Evans said.

Watson played junior varsity basketball for the school and had hoped to make varsity next time.

A notice posted on the school website dated April 27, read in part:

Dear Parent/Guardian:

We, at Cesar Chavez High School, are saddened to inform you that one of our students passed away today.

The young man collapsed after school while in the gymnasium. Paramedics were called immediately but the student remained unresponsive. All of us in the Cesar Chavez community are deeply saddened by the passing of this young man. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.

Your child may need extra time to talk to someone at home. In addition, for the benefit of all our students, the school has a trained team of mental health professionals who have set up a series of voluntary short-term grief counseling sessions where they can talk within a supportive group.

If you would like information about this, please feel free to call the Counseling Department at (602) 764-4007.


Scott E. Gayman

Cause of death has not been determined.

KTAR’s Jim Cross contributed to this report.