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Former Sylmar High and UCLA basketball standout Tyler Honeycutt, 27, was found dead early Saturday morning after a reported shootout with police at his home in Sherman Oaks.
A SWAT team entered the home and located an unresponsive male, who was pronounced dead at the scene, the Los Angeles Police Department tweeted at 3:45 a.m.
Family members identified the man as Honeycutt, a former UCLA basketball player who had a brief career in the NBA, according to ABC7.
Honeycutt reportedly barricaded himself after shots were exchanged, starting an 11-hour standoff. Initial reports had many to believe that Honeycutt was shot by police after he fired his gun at authorities. But a suicide is now being considered.
Honeycutt’s former Sylmar High basketball coach Bort Escoto, who still coaches at the school, has remained close with Honeycutt through his college and pro career after graduating in 2009.
“He’s been going through some things,” said Escoto. “He called me at around 4 p.m. (Friday), I planned on going to his house to talk, but his mom called me 45 minutes later saying, ‘He had a gun and was talking crazy.’ I told her to call 9-1-1.”
Said Escoto, “Recently, he’s been calling me and thanking me ‘for all I’ve done for him’. He has been acting very unusual lately, and our conversations would leave me concerned for him.”
Honeycutt, who was drafted in the second round of the 2011 NBA Draft by the Sacramento Kings, had just returned from playing professionally in Russia.
“I feel like something in or from Russia might have triggered his recent behavior,” Escoto said.
Escoto noted that he was texting Honeycutt during the standoff, and that at 10:03 p.m., specifically, an LAPD official told Escoto that authorities hadn’t moved in on Honeycutt, hours after initial gunshots had been fired.
Honeycutt was referred to as compassionate and kind by those who knew him well, including coaches and former teammates.
“Tyler was my roommate for road trips freshman year. Before even attending UCLA we shared the same official,” former UCLA teammate Anthony Stover said. “Through our time together at UCLA, and even after, he was nothing less than a brother I could always count on. I’m so hurt to find out he was hurting because he never showed it.”
Honeycutt was known for his versatility on the court, a 6-foot-8 perimeter player that could shoot, make plays and defend multiple positions. He was named to the PAC-10 All-Freshman team, and received co-MVP of the team his sophomore year before declaring for the NBA Draft.
Former four-year UCLA guard Jerime Anderson, who also plays professionally overseas, shared two years with Honeycutt in Westwood.
“This news truly has me heartbroken and upset,” said Anderson. “He was a real friend who you could always find smiling and share a laugh with at all times. He was so giving and selfless.”
RIP Honeycutt Love you Bro
— Jerime Anderson (@Jay_Bean05) July 7, 2018