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Family remembers Alto athlete who collapsed, died as ‘kid who touched everybody’


Family members say an Alto High School sophomore who collapsed during a basketball game Tuesday night and later died was a “kid who touched everybody.”

His cousin on Wednesday identified Devonte Mumphrey as the player who died during a home Yellowjackets basketball game, and she said he loved sports, and his family and friends.

“You couldn’t have met a better kid,” said Jessica Hackney, who referred to her cousin as Vonte. “He had respect. I never saw him with an attitude.”

Hackney said her cousin played basketball, football and baseball but that basketball was “his greatest love.”

“He was the kind of kid that touched everybody. Family and friends were most important to Vonte,” she said. “He was a good kid. This all feels like a dream; it doesn’t feel real.”

According to a statement released Tuesday night by Alto ISD Superintendent Kelly West, the district “experienced the tragic loss of a student-athlete” during the game that night.

The district remembered Mumphrey on Wednesday morning on its sign that in part read, “Forever #13” and “ALTOgether.” On its Facebook page, the district shared information about a candlelight vigil being held for Mumphrey at 7 p.m. Wednesday night at Hilltop Baptist Church.

Mumphrey wore jersey number 13 when playing basketball for the Yellowjackets.

In the statement, West said grief counselors and local pastors would be on campus today following the loss.

“During the coming days and weeks, we will provide our students, staff, and community the support needed to process the tragedy,” West said in the statement.

This past year, Mumphrey was named District 22-2A Newcomer of the Year in basketball. He was one of 10 players in the state to be nominated for Dave Campbell’s Mr. Texas Basketball for Week 12 of this season.

Hackney said the family had been through another tragedy a couple of years ago when Mumphrey’s younger cousin, A’niya Tyra, died following a battle with brain cancer.

“He pushed himself because he knew how much she (A’niya) loved basketball,” Hackney said. “Every game, he posted on Facebook, ‘I’m doing this for you A’niya.’”

Mumphrey’s aunt, DeeDee Tyra, said her nephew was A’niya’s “superhero” and that the two were best friends.

“I know that they had a great party in heaven last night, and those two are happy to be together again,” Tyra said.

Jason Duplichain is the father of one of Devonte Mumphrey’s teammates. Duplichain remembered Mumphrey as a “wonderful young man.”

“We are just devastated,” he said.

Duplichain called the loss “just tragic for our community.” He also remembered when in 2015 the district suffered the loss of another student-athlete.

Cam’ron Matthews, 16, collapsed during a football game that year and later died at a Tyler hospital.

The Tyler Paper reported preliminary reports showed Matthews’ collapse was caused by an aneurysm, but an autopsy report later revealed he died of an “unspecified blunt impact.” The autopsy showed the 16-year-old’s death was an accident caused by “anoxic encephalopathy” following resuscitation from cardiac arrest.

Family remembers Alto athlete who collapsed, died as ‘kid who touched everybody’
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