Former Wisconsin college basketball player Walt McGrory dead at 24 after battle with cancer
Former Wisconsin basketball player Walt McGrory died Saturday after a battle with a rare pediatric bone cancer.
He was 24.
“His soul was freed to continue his great mission to live and help others live full, healthy lives,” it was announced on his Instagram account Monday.
The 6-foot-3, 205-pound guard played in 37 games for the Badgers from 2017-21 and was a two-time Academic All-Big Ten student.
He announced he was planning to transfer to South Dakota in April 2021 but was diagnosed with osteosarcoma.
“Our hearts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Walt McGrory,” Wisconsin coach Greg Gard said Monday in a statement.
“The courage and fight that Walt demonstrated throughout his two-year battle with cancer was an inspiration to us all. Walt never quit. Instead, he chose to fight every day and made the most of his circumstances by sharing his journey and inspiring others. Walt was a beloved member of our team and the Badger family, and we will miss him dearly.”
4Wisconsin Badgers guard Walt McGrory (3) during the first half of the College Basketball game between the Rutgers Scarlet Knights and the Wisconsin Badgers on January 5, 2018, at the Louis Brown Athletic Center in Piscataway, NJ. Icon Sportswire via Getty ImagesMcGrory was a standout at Edina High School in Minnesota, where he is the school’s all-time leading scorer with 2,126 points.
He joined the Badgers as a walk-on in 2017 before he transferred to the University of South Dakota in April 2021.
4Walt McGrory shared medical updates with his followers online. InstagramMcGrory averaged 26.3 points, 8.0 rebounds and 6.0 assists per game during his senior season.
In August 2021, five months after he transferred to South Dakota, McGrory announced he was diagnosed he was battling bone cancer.
Asked earlier in 2023 if he was in denial when he heard his diagnosis, McGrory told KARE 11 in Minnesota, “I don’t know if it’s denial. It’s just more like, ‘Well, this will be over soon.’ I don’t really need to think about it much.”
4Walt McGrory following his surgery in August. InstagramHe had his left leg amputated in April.
“I didn’t look down right away,” McGrory said. “I mean, I had the blanket over it and I didn’t really want to look at it for the first few days.
“I’m not ashamed of it or anything. I’ll go to Lifetime Fitness or the gym and I’ll have the crutches.”
4Walt McGrory was a standout player in high school and played at Wisconsin. InstagramMcGrory had posted updates about his cancer journey through his social media page, often snapping photos during his treatments.
In July 2022, McGrory said the osteosarcoma, once in remission, had returned and spread within his body
“Put it out there to the world, the universe, I guess that you want to keep living, you know? You kind of do whatever it takes to keep going,” he said, adding “That makes me a lot stronger than I’d be on my own.”
He is survived by his parents, Matthew and Jean, and his sister Mary Claire, who played basketball at Creighton.
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