By Joshua Huff, sports editor
MONTGOMERY — A 2020 Lee-Montgomery High School graduate and soon-to-be University of Alabama-Birmingham freshman football player drowned on Wednesday in a lake within Chewacla State Park in Auburn.
Jamari Smith, a state champion basketball player for the Generals and standout football player, died on Wednesday in what Auburn police described as an accidental drowning. The incident occurred at around 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday at Chewacla State Park in the 100 block of Shell Toomer Parkway.
Emergency personnel responded to the scene and pulled Smith from the water. First responders performed CPR and subsequently transported Smith to the emergency room at the East Alabama Medical Center where he was pronounced dead. Lee County Coroner Bill Harris identified Smith as the deceased.
The 18-year-old had secured an offered from UAB football and helped Lee High School claim the 2020 AHSAA Class 7A basketball state title in February, which was the first state boys’ basketball championship in program history. In that game, Smith scored four points in the final four minutes to help fend off Mountain Brook, 40-38, to win the state crown.
“It is with heavy hearts that we must confirm the passing of our beloved Jamari “Chop” Smith,” the Lee-Montgomery boys’ basketball team posted on Twitter. “We ask for you to pray for his family. We also ask that you give them privacy at this time. Chop we love you always.”
— Ⓜ️ontgomery Ⓜ️ade (@ModerndayTv) May 28, 2020
Smith is the third Lee-Montgomery athlete to have died in recent years. Rod Scott, a star basketball player, died in a car wreck in 2016 and former all-Metro quarterback Shaquille Johnson was shot and killed in his home in 2018.