Former Vols basketball player Major Wingate, 37, dies

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Credit: University of Tennessee sports

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Former Tennessee center Major Wingate, a team captain and big contributor during coach Bruce Pearls first year with the Vols, has died. He was 37.

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

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

During his three-year career at Tennessee Wingate shot 50.9% and averaged 6.4 points and 3.2 rebounds. He also blocked 70 shots during his UT career, good enough for 13th all-time when his time at UT came to an end.

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

The school offered its condolences Saturday.

Wingate was kicked off the team in 2006 after violating the team’s substance abuse policy. He went on to play professionally overseas and returned to the states in 2009 after being drafted by the Springfield Armor in the NBA Development League draft.

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