Former Clemson guard Demontez Stitt, 27, dies of reported heart attack

Former Clemson guard Demontez Stitt shoots during practice for a 2011 NCAA first-round game in Dayton, Ohio. Stitt was found dead in his home Wednesday. (File/AP Photo)

CLEMSON — Former Clemson guard Demontez Stitt has died at the age of 27, the Clemson basketball program confirmed Wednesday.

A four-year starter at Clemson from 2007-11, Stitt died of a reported heart attack at his home in North Carolina in the midst of a professional career in Europe. Stitt played last year for Orkide Gediz in Turkey, where he averaged a team-high 19.0 points and 5.1 assists per game this past season.

Stitt, a Matthews, N.C. native, played 126 games for the Tigers, starting 111 and averaging 10.8 points for his career. As a senior for the 2010-11 team, he was Clemson’s leading scorer for the program’s last squad to make the NCAA Tournament.

With 14.5 points and 4.3 rebounds per game, Stitt was third-team all-ACC in 2010-11, Clemson’s last guard to earn all-conference honors, and was also named to the all-ACC tournament team.

Stitt ranks fifth in Clemson history in games started and sixth with 419 assists. He is the only Tiger to start for four NCAA Tournament teams.

Head coach Brad Brownell, who coached Stitt as a senior, said in a statement Wednesday, “My heart aches today. Demontez was a true pleasure to coach. I’ll never forget his big smile and competitive spirit. Clemson basketball extends our condolences to his family during this incredibly difficult time.”

Former Clemson forward Tanner Smith tweeted, “We lost a special friend, son, teammate, and brother. My thoughts and prayers are with his family. Love you Buddy”

An Israeli publication called One quoted former Clemson basketball player Trevor Booker, Stitt’s college teammate of three years and currently with the Brooklyn Nets, as saying: “I’m blown away. I pray it is not true. He was amazing. We grew up together.”

Prior to joining Orkide Gediz in Turkey, Stitt was dismissed from the Israeli Basketball Premier League following his arrest for possession of drugs while playing for Maccabi Haifa.