Urban Prep-Englewood athlete shot dead

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Deonte Hoard waved goodbye to the Urban Prep-Englewood boys basketball team Monday afternoon and then headed home, a coach said.

Hoard, a 17-year-old senior, was a member of the team until December, when he was dismissed for eligibility issues.

Hoard was walking in the 10500 block of South Yates Avenue at 7:20 p.m. Monday when gunfire erupted from a black SUV, authorities said.

Hoard, of the 10500 block of South Oglesby Avenue, was shot in the chest and died at the scene, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office, which ruled his death a homicide.

Hoard’s former teammates were warming up on the court at St. Laurence High School when he was shot. Urban Prep-Englewood went on to beat Ag. Science in the Class 3A state playoffs.

“It’s awful,” said Urban Prep-Englewood coach Fred Cleveland. “We saw him when he was leaving. He was waving at us. He was on his way home. [If he was still on the team] he would have been playing last night. [The coaches] found out at halftime but we didn’t tell the team until after the game.”

Urban Prep-Englewood had to turn around and play on Tuesday as well. They lost to Vocational 70-47 in the Class 3A regional semifinals. Senior Dillon Howard, a close friend of Hoard, said it was difficult to play.

“I didn’t want to do anything today,” Howard said. “I just wanted to lay in bed and think about our memories. I couldn’t stop crying so I figured I needed to go play to take my mind off of it.”

Kristopher Hayes, another former teammate and senior at Urban Prep-Englewood, said Hoard had been accepted at Alabama A&M.

“We both got in there,” Hayes said. “So we talked about keeping our brotherhood together in college. [UP-Englewood] is like a family so today was hard on everyone, all the kids and the teachers.”

Urban Prep founder and CEO Tim King said in a statement that Hoard attended the school’s Englewood campus.

“He was one of my favorite kids in the building, he was tough,” Urban Prep-Englewood assistant coach Dwayne Carter said. “This Friday he was supposed to get his red and gold tie.”

Hoard was the first Urban Prep student to be killed while enrolled in one of the schools. The network of all-boys public schools was founded in 2002, according to the charter schools’ website. Hoard was a member of the track team and had been admitted to several colleges, King said.

“He kept trying to get back on the [basketball] team over and over again,” Carter said. “It just never worked out.”

Hoard was scheduled to receive the ceremonial tie Friday at the “On to the Next One Ceremony” for seniors who had been admitted to college.

“We will remember a young man full of promise and potential, well-liked by teachers and friends, and loved by his family,” King said.

Urban Prep will be “providing support” to Hoard’s family and offer grief counseling to students and staff, King said.

“He was just a friendly person,” said Brandon Sparkman, a teammate and friend of Hoard’s at Urban Prep-Englewood. “He was the type of guy that just never got mad about anything.”

Police said a 23-year-old man was wounded in the shooting and was treated at Advocate Trinity Hospital for a graze wound to his head.

No one has been charged in the murder. Area South detectives are investigating.

Hoard “was really funny, he just had a goofy personality,” Howard said. “He was our leading scorer sophomore year, so he could play too.”

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