Sean Rooks, 76ers Assistant and Former NBA Player, Dies at Age 46

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistJune 8, 2016

The Philadelphia 76ers' lhalf-court logo is shown before an NBA basketball game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Friday, Nov. 8, 2013, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Matt Slocum/Associated Press

Former NBA center and Philadelphia 76ers assistant coach Sean Rooks died Tuesday at the age of 46.

The team confirmed the news Tuesday evening:

Philadelphia 76ers @sixers

We are deeply saddened by the loss of Sean Rooks. Our thoughts are with the entire Rooks family.

"It is with deep sadness and overwhelming grief that we mourn the sudden loss of my son, Sean," said Rooks' mother, Deborah Brown, in a statement, per Rich Hofmann of PhillyVoice.com. "Our family asks that our privacy be respected as we grieve during this incredibly difficult time."

Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated first reported the news Tuesday.

Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical reported Rooks died in a Philadelphia restaurant just hours after he interviewed for an assistant coaching job with the New York Knicks.

The Phoenix Suns extended their condolences to his family on Twitter.

Rooks, whom the Dallas Mavericks selected with the 30th overall pick in 1992, played 12 seasons in the NBA. He spent time with the Mavericks, Minnesota Timberwolves, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, New Orleans Hornets, Orlando Magic and Atlanta Hawks. 

After retiring in 2004, Rooks transitioned into coaching. He worked as an assistant in the NBA Development League with the Bakersfield Jam, New Mexico Thunderbirds and Sioux Falls Skyforce before joining the Suns' player development staff in 2012. The 76ers hired him as an assistant coach in 2014.

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Working under Sixers head coach Brett Brown for the last two seasons, Rooks' primary job was developing the team's big men. The front office made sure he had plenty of work, drafting players like Nerlens Noel, Joel Embiid and Jahlil Okafor since 2013. 

Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported in May the 76ers were not likely to renew Rooks' contract for the 2016-17 campaign after the team went 10-72 last season. 

Rooks had a good NBA career as a backup center, averaging 6.2 points and 3.8 rebounds in 749 career games. He was also a star in college at the University of Arizona and was a first-team All-Pac-10 selection in 1992 after averaging 16.3 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. 

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