Brother of Omaha South basketball standout killed in I-29 crash

San Diego State basketball player Aguek Arop said in a web post that his brother, Deng, died over the weekend.
The brother of a former Omaha South High School basketball star says his brother died in a car crash over the weekend.
Published: May. 2, 2023 at 1:01 PM CDT
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MOUND CITY, Mo. (WOWT) - A former Omaha South basketball standout who was playing in the NCAA men’s championship final a few weeks ago has lost his brother.

San Diego State senior Aguek Arop said in a GoFundMe post that his brother, Deng, died in a crash over the weekend. He was 20 years old.

According to the report from the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Deng Arop of Omaha was an unrestrained passenger in a 2017 Nissan Altima driven by a 21-year-old Omaha man. The car was sitting in a northbound lane on Interstate 29, at Mile Marker 83 near Mound City, just before 3 a.m. Sunday when it was rear-ended by a 2015 International semi-truck.

The car “came to rest on its wheels off the east side of the roadway,” the report states.

Arop was declared dead at the scene.

Three others were injured, including the driver and two other passengers ages 19 and 21. All three were transported to a St. Joseph hospital from the scene with varying degrees of injuries. Only one person in the car was restrained, according to the report, and that passenger sustained minor injuries.

“I write this at a loss for words. Deng was so loved by all who knew him,” Aguek said in the post, noting that his brother was a cancer survivor.

With 600 donations as of about noon Tuesday, the GoFundMe account had already surpassed its $35,000 goal to cover funeral costs.

“Words do not do justice to his impact on the lives of those who knew him. He inspired us as we watched him fight cancer and win, he brought joy to our hearts with his smile and genuine goofiness and he touched our hearts with how he loved and cared for all his friends and family,” Aguek said in the post.

Aguek and the San Diego State Aztecs knocked the Creighton Bluejays out of the NCAA tournament, keeping them out of the Final Four, before going on to lose the 2023 championship to UConn.

SD State has rallied around Arop, as have local supporters including Creighton Men’s Basketball Head Coach Greg McDermott, and even Fox Sports Radio host Aaron Torres — all posting the link to the GoFundMe page in support.