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Yinka Dare

Yinka Dare (born October 10 1972 in Kano, NigeriaJanuary 92004 in Englewood, New Jersey, U.S.) was a Nigerian professional basketball player; a 7-foot-1, 270 pound (122 kg) center. He played one season at Milford Academy High, a prep school in Connecticut.

Dare was discovered by Nigerian-born lawyer Lloyd Ukwu during a visit to Lagos in 1991. While Ukwu was driving, he noticed a very tall man sitting on a bench eating a bowl of food. When he asked him how tall he was, Dare said he didn't know. Dare had previously spent most of his free time in his native Nigeria playing tennis, but soon picked up basketball for the first time and flourished in his new sport.

College career

Dare played college basketball for George Washington University, where he excelled as a player under coach Mike Jarvis and helped revive the basketball program. As a freshman in 1992-93, he led the Colonials to the NCAA Tournament round of 16 ('The Sweet 16'), the furthest they had ever advanced. The next year, Dare led them to the second round of the tournament. He finished his college career averaging 13.8 points per game and 10.7 rebounds per game. After just two seasons, he had become the Colonials' all-time leader in blocked shots, averaging more than two per game.

He left school after two seasons and was selected in the first-round (14th overall) by the New Jersey Nets in the 1994 NBA Draft. The Nets gave him a six-year, $9 million guaranteed contract.

NBA

In the NBA, Dare played 110 games in four seasons with the Nets; in his rookie campaign, Dare played for three minutes before getting injured (torn ACL) and missing the rest of the season. The Nets left him unprotected during the 1995 expansion draft, but he was not selected by either the Toronto Raptors or the Vancouver Grizzlies. In his first full season (1995-96), in which he played a personal best 58 out of 82 games, he turned the ball over 72 times while registering no assists He still holds the NBA record for most consecutive minutes played without an assist. During his four-year career, he would rack up a total of four assists accompanied by 96 turnovers. For his career, he averaged 2.1 points, 2.6 rebounds, and less than 0.1 assists per game.

He played intermittently in other leagues including the Continental Basketball Association and United States Basketball League until 2003.

After his playing career

Dare died in 2004 after collapsing in his home in New Jersey. A medical examiner determined that Dare had a heart attack due to an arrhythmia condition discovered when he was in college.

Lucious Harris, who joined the Nets in 1997-98, Dare's final season said "It's a bad situation. I feel for his family. Just 32, to have a heart attack, that's scary. It always seemed like he was in shape. But things happen and you don't understand why."

Kerry Kittles, who played with Dare in the latter's final two Nets seasons said: "He was a quiet guy, didn't talk that much. He worked hard - he didn't really play much, but he was a fun guy to be around. [He was] young: It makes you think... anything can happen any time. It's in the back of your mind [that] it could happen to you."

Mike Jarvis, who coached Dare at George Washington, told The Washington Post, "Yinka was a kind, gentle person. He was nice to my family, as respectful as anybody I've come into contact with. I don't remember him having a bad word to say about anybody; just a nice, sweet kid."

Dare is survived by parents Gabriel and Joan, two sisters and a brother.

Other appearances

  • Dare appeared in the 1995 Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo video game NBA Jam Tournament Edition as a "bonus" player, available on the all-rookie squad at the onset of the game, and upon beating the game becomes available for play on his home team.
  • Dare appeared in a Puma shoe commercial

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