Former FSU basketball player Michael Ojo passes away at 27

Florida State and ACC basketball fans woke up to sad news Friday morning: former FSU center Michael Ojo passed away at the age of 27.

According to a report from Euro Hoops, Ojo collapsed while running and died from a sudden heart attack during a practice.

A native of Nigeria, Ojo arrived in Tallahassee as a member of Florida State’s 2012 recruiting class. Quickly, Ojo established a name for himself around the ACC and college hoops universe due to his immense size: 7-foot-1, 295 pounds. For a guy that played very little competitive basketball before college, Ojo — who moved to the United States in 2012 — learned on the fly.

Over the course of his five seasons at FSU, though, Ojo emerged as a key player — both in terms of his paint production and overall leadership.

During his career, Ojo appeared in 131 games (78 starts); averaged 2.7 points and 2.5 rebounds per game. After taking a redshirt for the 2015-16 season, Ojo started 34 of Florida State’s 35 games in the 2016-17 season. Ojo never played a high volume of minutes in Florida State’s deep frontcourt rotation, but he was alway impactful.

As a redshirt senior, he shot 56.4 percent from the field, while also performing as one of the ACC’s top offensive rebounders and shot blockers. FSU went 26-9 that year.

In a way, Ojo served as a bridge to some of the incredible success Florida State has gone on to accomplish the last four seasons. Jonathan Issac, Dwayne Bacon, Terance Mann and Trent Forrest were all on that roster, too.

While at Florida State, Forrest — the lone senior on the 2020 ACC Championship roster — helped guide the Seminoles to a 104-34 (.753). Forrest also evolved into one of the best team leaders in recent ACC sports history.

Leonard Hamilton is one of the true trail blazers of the basketball. More people have taken notice: the obstacles he’s overcome make building one of the premier programs in college basketball even more impressive.

Florida State’s success on the floor is certainly noteworthy; however, the program has started to gain recognition for what it was doing off the court, too. It’s obvious that the vibes around FSU basketball are as good as it gets in college sports. Ojo was the physical embodiment of that — in almost comedic proportions.

After leaving FSU, Ojo went on to have a brilliant professional career. He started in Serbia with FMP, then went on to play two seasons with Crvena Zvezda.

During that time, Ojo was a part of several championship teams: 2018 ABA SuperCup and the ABA League, and the Serbian League in 2019. Ojo averaged 8.1 points (69.2 FG%) and 5.6 rebounds per game in the 2018-19 season with Crvena Zvezda.