Alec Kessler, a former Miami Heat center who starred in college at Georgia, died after collapsing during a pickup game, the school announced Sunday. He was 40.
Kessler, a captain on Georgia's 1990 Southeastern Conference championship team, suffered an apparent heart attack Saturday in Pensacola, Fla. He was pronounced dead a short time later at Gulf Breeze Hospital, the school said in a statement.
When Kessler enrolled at Georgia in 1985, he was a little-known recruit with few other offers from NCAA Division I programs. After a redshirt season, he spent one year as a backup before blossoming into a star for the Bulldogs.
His senior season, the Bulldogs won the first — and still only — SEC basketball title in school history. In his last college game, Kessler became the school's career scoring leader with 1,788 points, a mark surpassed the following year by Litterial Green.
After graduation, Kessler was picked No. 12 overall by the Houston Rockets, who promptly traded him to the Miami Heat. He played four seasons for the Heat before going into a career in medicine.
Kessler graduated magna cum laude from Georgia with a 3.9 grade point average in microbiology. He graduated from the Emory School of Medicine in 1999 and was an orthopedic surgeon in Pensacola.
Kessler, whose brother Chad played at Georgia from 1984-87, was survived by his wife Rhea and their two sons, Nicholas and Christopher.
Published in The Palm Beach Post on Oct. 14, 2007