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It’s with a heavy heart that we pass along the sad news that former Holy Name, North Carolina, and Holy Cross basketball star Neil Fingleton passed away today at the age of 36. Neil came to the states from England as a sophomore to play basketball for the Napoleans.
I remember it well because Holy Name was already good before he got there, and I went to a school that played Holy Name twice a year. Our center was 5’11”, 240 pounds of pure fatness. There’s was a 7’5″ Brit who was just learning the game. As you can imagine, we got slaughtered something like 100-40, resulting in a conga line around the Holy Name gym with 30 seconds left in the game, and the eventual suspension of several Worcester South High School students.
By the time Neil went to college at North Carolina he was 7’8″ and easily the tallest player in this prestigious basketball school’s history. He’s the last Central Mass basketball player to make the McDonald’s All-American team. Here he is swatting the shit out of Brian Boddicker, who went on to star at the University of Texas:
His highlight reel at UNC wasn’t as glamorous – sitting out his freshmen year due to injury, and then playing in only one game in his second season. Here’s his career highlights at UNC:
After that it was on to Holy Cross where his playing days eventually fizzled out.
But his acting career was just beginning. You can read all about it on his Wikipedia page. His greatest role was probably his brief gig on Game of Thrones.
Remarkably his parents are only 6′ and no one in his immediate family is particularly tall. We’re not sure exactly what happened, or how he died, but the man was a legend in his brief stay in Worcester. May he rest in peace.
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