Former Onate High School and New Mexico State University basketball standout Kelsey Crooks died Monday at his Las Cruces home following a long illness, the Las Cruces Sun-News reported. He was 31 years old.
“We were fortunate to have him at New Mexico State,” former NMSU basketball coach Lou Henson told the Sun-News. “He was a good player and one of the better athletes that I coached. We knew that he was ill for a long time, but we were greatly saddened to hear that he had passed.”
Crooks played for Henson from 1999 to 2004 and graduated from NMSU in 2005 with a degree in industrial engineering, the Sun-News said.
He was the highest-scoring player in New Mexico as a senior at Onate in 1999, according to the Sun-News.
Crooks was fighting a disease originally diagnosed as multiple sclerosis when he was 26 but was later determined to be something else, the paper reported.
After college, Crooks worked for Alcoa Inc.’s aluminum processing facility in Phoenix but returned to Las Cruces in 2008, the Sun-News said.
He was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2009 and helped raise awareness for the disease in Walk MS events in 2010 and 2011, but he learned some time last year that it was an elevated level of metal in his body, including aluminum, that was robbing him of his strength and ability to perform simple tasks, family members told the Sun-News.