Scottie Bordelon is a reporter for the Hawgs Sports Network. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Arkansas and previously covered high school sports for the Times Record in Fort Smith and the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. He was the 2022 Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year.
Report: Former UA forward Reggie Chaney dead at 23
Arkansas forward Reggie Chaney looks to drive during a game against Vanderbilt on Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020, in Fayetteville.
More basketball was set to be in Reggie Chaney’s future after he played two seasons at Arkansas and three at Houston.
Chaney planned to travel next week to Greece, where he had signed to play for a professional team. But Chaney has died, the Houston Chronicle reported Monday. He was 23.
No details about the death have been reported.
“It’s devastating news,” said Matt Zimmerman, who was on the Razorbacks’ staff with former head coach Mike Anderson for Chaney’s first season at Arkansas. “It breaks your heart that he’s passed away at such a young age.
“It seems like yesterday he came on his official visit. I just can’t believe he’s gone already.”
Chaney, a 6-8 forward from Tulsa who was a standout at high schools in Texas and Nevada, played 63 games for Arkansas as a freshman and sophomore. He averaged 4.8 points and 3.4 points per game.
In Chaney’s second season, he played for Razorbacks coach Eric Musselman.
“The Razorback men’s basketball program is devastated to hear of the loss of Reggie Chaney,” Musselman said in a statement. “He was a relentless worker and loved by his coaches and teammates.
“His family is in our thoughts and prayers.”
More from WholeHogSports: Chaney's work ethic was instilled at a young age
Little Rock Parkview High School Coach Scotty Thurman was an Arkansas assistant who recruited Chaney and coached him as a freshman.
“Reggie and I had a big brother/little brother relationship!” Thurman said in a text message. “It was built off trust!
“I am extremely saddened by this loss! My heart cries out for his family at this time!”
Chaney averaged 3.6 points and 2.6 rebounds for Houston teams that combined for a 93-14 record under Coach Kelvin Sampson. The Cougars went to the Final Four in 2021 during Chaney’s first season at Houston.
The program then advanced to the Eight Eight in 2022 and Sweet 16 last season.
Chaney averaged 3.0 points and 2.7 rebounds in 13.5 minutes as a fifth-year senior. But American Athletic Conference coaches voted him the conference’s Sixth Man of the Year.
“I’ve always said, ‘Reggie, you’re my security blanket,’” Sampson said in March. “Some days when it’s hot, I may not need you, but if there’s a little bit of a chill in the air, it’s good to know I’ve got that blanket there.”
Chaney earned his minutes with defense and rebounding.
“Reggie was an enforcer,” Zimmerman said. “He was tough, physical, strong and hard-nosed. He’d battle and compete. That’s how he played at a high level at two different big-time places for five years.”
When Chaney announced he was transferring from Arkansas after the 2019-20 season, he expressed positive feelings about playing for Razorbacks.
“These past two years being an Arkansas Razorback have been a wonderful experience,” Chaney wrote on social media.
Chaney thanked Anderson and Musselman for helping him develop as a player.
“To my teammates, thank you for pushing me each and every day in practice,” Chaney wrote. “All the memories we have, I will cherish.”
Chaney also thanked the Arkansas fans for their love and support.
“It truly has been a pleasure to play at Bud Walton Arena,” he wrote. “Excited to see what this next chapter has for me.”
It turned out to be a good chapter for Chaney with Houston, resulting in the trip to the Final Four the following season.
“My heart is heavy with this news," Anderson wrote on social media Monday night. “Reggie a fierce competitor, a gentle soul with a giving heart has gone home.”
“I would like to express my sincere condolences to the family of Reggie Chaney,” former Razorbacks assistant coach Corey Williams posted to social media. “Built a great relationship with him at the University of Arkansas, my heart is heavy. Praying for the Chaney family, gone way too soon!”
Former Razorbacks guard Mason Jones, teammates with Chaney for two seasons at Arkansas, posted, in part, “[Please] give Reggie his flowers. … Going to miss you brotha. … Real life brotha, roommate and one of the realest guys you will ever meet.”
Chaney the previous three seasons was teammates with current Razorbacks wing Tramon Mark, who posted “#RIPREGGIE” to social media Monday night.
Former Arkansas guard Jimmy Whitt posted that Chaney was an amazing teammate. The two played together with the Razorbacks in 2019-20.
“There are never the right words to express a loss,” Whitt wrote in a social media post. “My deepest condolences to Reggie’s family and everyone affected.”
Former Arkansas forward Daniel Gafford also added, “This one hurt. Wasn’t really expecting this type of news today. Fly high my guy.”
Chaney initially signed with Arkansas over scholarship offers from TCU, Texas A&M, Wichita State and DePaul.
Have a comment on this story? Join the discussion or start a new one on the Forums.