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Former Detroit Chadsey star Demetreus Gore, who died at 54, had 'no weaknesses' in game

David Goricki
The Detroit News

Demetreus Gore was among a talented group of players in the Detroit Public School League in the mid-1980s, giving basketball fans a reason to brave the winter weather to get to the Motor City gyms, then be thankful they made the trip once they did.

Gore, who played for Detroit Chadsey, earning the title of Mr. Basketball in 1984, died at age 54 over the weekend from an apparent heart attack while working out at a gym in the New York area.

Demetreus Gore was a four-year starter at Pitt after winning Michigan Mr. Basketball honors at Detroit Chadsey in 1984.

Gore played in a period when Derrick Coleman played at Detroit Northern, Antoine “The Judge” Joubert played for Detroit Southwestern and Vernon Carr played for Detroit Cody.

Gore averaged 33 points during his senior season at Chadsey to earn the right to hold the Mr. Basketball award, winning it over such players as Jeff Grayer (Flint Northwestern, Iowa State, first-round pick of the Milwaukee Bucks in 1988), the late Gary Thompkins (Jackson, Iowa State) and Glynn Blackwell (Highland Park, Illinois).

“We grew up together on the west side (of Detroit), played basketball at Kelly Park, basically that park raised us,” said Lamonta Stone, who played at River Rouge, where he now is the head basketball coach.

“When we were younger he was one of the most talented guys. A lot of people talk about Antoine Joubert during that time period, but Demetreus was just as good a player as Antoine was. Antoine was more of a shooter, Demetreus was a scorer. He scored in all kinds of ways. He was so athletic.

“I don’t think he got the notoriety as some of the other guys got because he went to Chadsey, and back in those days Chadsey wasn’t really considered a big basketball program.”

Gore would go on to play at Pittsburgh, competing against Coleman and Syracuse in the rugged Big East where Georgetown and St. John's were also national powers.

Gore was a part of a strong nucleus at Pittsburgh, joining Big East Player of the Year Charles Smith and Jerome Lane, who were both first-round picks in the 1988 NBA Draft.

Gore averaged a team-high 16.1 points his sophomore year, then helped Pittsburgh to its first Big East regular-season titles in program history in 1987 and 1988. He scored 24 to help Pitt defeat Eastern Michigan in the 1988 NCAA Tournament.

It was during his sophomore season when the 6-foot-5, 210-pound Gore helped Pitt defeat then No. 11 Georgetown — coached by John Thompson, who passed away Monday — to start the Panthers’ rise in the Big East.

Gore ranks 16th among Pitt's all-time leading scorers ( 1,555 points, 12.7 per game). A four-year starter, his streak of 97 consecutive starts is sixth-most in program history.

“We were good friends; so sad. I can’t believe it,” Joubert said of Gore’s passing. “He was my toughest guy, he and Vernon Carr, in high school. It was tough every time, I didn’t know which way the game was going to go. They were very good players and you looked forward to those games. That’s one of the best games of the year, even in the summer time when we would play at the Boys and Girls Club at St. Cecilia, those were tough games, even at summer camps like High Exposure, so we became really good friends.

“He did everything well. He could shoot, jump, dribble, pass, play great defense and rebound. He didn’t really have no weakness and that’s the honest truth.”

Stone said he learned the news on Monday from a tweet by Charles Smith.

“Just found out yesterday, tragic, died of a heart attack,” Stone said of Gore. “He played (professionally) in Europe and in the CBA, but never caught on (in NBA) and I thought he was super talented.”

In his tweet, Smith said it was Gore's "play and attitude that made us who we were."

david.goricki@detroitnews.com