Nate Huffman, American basketball player, Died at 40

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Nathaniel Thomas Huffman, born on April 2, 1975, and passed away October 15, 2015.

Nate was an American professional basketball player, who played most of his career outside of the United States with Maccabi Tel Aviv.

Nate played for the Lakeview High School and then for Lansing Community College (where in ’94–’95 he averaged 29.8 points, 14.5 rebounds, and 6 blocks per game while shooting 66.8% from the field, and was named to the JUCO All America team).

He then played for Central Michigan University from 1995 until 1997 (where in ’96–’97 he averaged 17.2 points, 11 rebounds (leading the Mid-America Conference in rebounding), and 1.8 blocks per game, and was named to the MAC Conference 1st team).

After college, Nate signed as a free agent with the Los Angeles Clippers, but did not make the team.

In the 1997–98 season played for the Idaho Stampede of the CBA.

He was second in the league in blocked shots per game (1.8), 6th in field goal percentage (.553), 8th in rebounds per game (7.6), 10th in free throw percentage (.801).

He then moved to Europe and played for Baloncesto Fuenlabrada of Spain.

In the 1999–00 season he was signed by Maccabi Tel Aviv. During his time in Israel he won three national championships and state cups, and one European FIBA SuproLeague title (2001; when he averaged 17.9 points and 9 rebounds while playing 30 minutes per game as the team was 21–3).

He was named the MVP of the Israeli Basketball League, and the FIBA SuproLeague MVP, as well as the “Best American Player in Europe” by Basket News, in 2001.

After his successes in Israel, he was signed in July 2002, by the Toronto Raptors of the NBA to a 3-year, $5.2 million contract (the third year being a team option), and appeared in 7 games, averaging 3.3 points, 3.3 rebounds and 10.9 minutes.

Shortly after, Nate was released by Toronto which terminated his contract in January 2003, because team management charged that he hid a knee injury from them when he signed the contract.

Nate responded by suing them in 2003. In February 2004 an arbitrator ruled that the Raptors were responsible for Nate’s contract.

After his basketball career, he decided to fund a basketball camp for children in 2005, with retired Romanian-Israeli basketball player Constantin Popa.

Nate was awarded in 2010 by the Michigan Jewish Sports Foundation, the Book of Life Award

On September 29, 2015, Nate announced that he had Stage 4 bladder cancer and his “condition is terminal”.

Nate died on October 15, 2015.


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