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Charles Shackleford, former NC State star, found dead at age 50

Charles Shackleford, who starred at NC State and played for four teams during six NBA seasons, was found dead Friday in his home in Kinston, North Carolina, police confirmed.

Kinston Police said they are still investigating the death of the 50-year-old Shackleford, who played for the Wolfpack from 1985 to 1988. No cause of death has been given.

The 6-foot-10 Shackleford averaged 13.7 points and 7.8 rebounds a game in three seasons at NC State. He earned first-team all-ACC honors in 1988 after leading the league in rebounding at 9.6 per game that season.

"N.C. State is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of former Wolfpack men's basketball player, Charles Shackleford," the school said in a statement Friday. "Our thoughts and prayers are with his friends and family during this difficult time."

He played two seasons for the New Jersey Nets after being drafted in 1988. After a season in Europe, he played for the Philadelphia 76ers from 1991 to 1993. After again returning to Europe for a season, he played 21 games for the Minnesota Timberwolves during the 1994-95 season.

After bouncing around Europe for a few different teams and playing in the CBA, Shackleford returned to the NBA during the 1998-99 season and played 32 games for the Charlotte Hornets.

He averaged 5.4 points and 4.8 rebounds per game during his NBA career.

Shackleford had his share of troubles away from the court. He came under investigation when he was accused of point shaving following an ABC News report that alleged that a New Jersey businessman paid him and three teammates to shave points in as many as four games at N.C. State during the 1987-88 season.

"I never shaved points at North Carolina State," Shackleford said in 1990. "I did take money from an agent. I was young and poor. I was offered money and I took it. I borrowed the money from another person because I thought that was my only way out. What I did was wrong. I know that now."

The allegation was part of an NCAA investigation that led to the resignation of the late coach Jim Valvano, the program being placed on two years' probation, a one-year postseason ban and the repayment of $405,756 in NCAA tournament revenues during Shackleford's sophomore and junior years.

Shackleford also is remembered for saying "I'm amphibious," when describing to a reporter his ability to use either his left or right hand.

"He was just a funny guy. He was hilarious. He cracked jokes," said Ernie Myers, a teammate on the 1985-86 Wolfpack team that got within a game of the Final Four. "Every time we saw him, he had this infectious kind of grin on his face."

Myers said he last talked to Shackleford a month ago, when the two discussed meeting at a Wolfpack game in Raleigh. Shackleford never made the trip, Myers said, adding that Shackleford's gregarious nature may have led to the troubles he endured.

"Shack wasn't a cheap guy," Myers said. "When he got a little money, he wanted to show people a good time. That was part of his problem. I think sometimes, he made the wrong decisions."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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