MINNEAPOLIS - Former Fort Dodge Dodger basketball star Wade Wheat died on Monday at the University of Minnesota Medical Center from complications of cancer. He was 38 years old.
Wheat, a 1992 FDSH graduate who was living in Minneapolis, played two seasons at the varsity level for the Dodgers. As a junior, Wheat averaged 20.6 points per contest in helping Fort Dodge reach the 1991 Class 3A state tournament despite a losing record.
The 6-foot-3 Wheat had 31 points in a substate final victory over Sioux City West in Storm Lake. He then scored 33 against Carroll Kuemper in the state quarterfinals, where the Dodgers (8-13 overall) bowed out, 82-77.
That season, Wheat also established the single-game school record for points (46) at Des Moines East on Feb. 2, 1991 in a 92-65 victory. He was 18 of 24 from the field, making five three-point baskets and all five free throws as well. The scoring mark still stands.
Wheat topped the 30-point mark five times as a junior. He shot 53 percent from the field and 79 percent at the line, with 26 three-pointers in 17 games played.
Wheat's senior campaign started brilliantly, but ended abruptly. He had 40 points in the Dodgers' 1991-92 season opener against Southeast Polk in Urbandale, then scored 32 the next night versus the host J-Hawks.
In Fort Dodge's fourth game, Wheat dropped 38 points on Kuemper at home. He would play only one more contest in a Dodger uniform, though, as he and three other players were dismissed from the squad for violation of team rules. Wheat was averaging 27.4 points at the time.
In 22 career varsity games, Wheat scored 487 points - a 22.1 point average. That mark ranks behind only Jay Goodman (25.6) on the program's all-time charts; Goodman played one season for FDSH, helping them to a state championship in 1987-88.
Sam Mosley (19.8 from 1975-78), Thomas Clark (19.3 from 1984-87) and Wade Lookingbill (17.2 from 1985-88) follow Goodman and Wheat on the Dodgers' career point per game list.
Wheat attended and played for Indian Hills Community College.
Wheat's death comes six days after the passing of good friend, teammate and classmate Antonio Love. Wheat would have been 39 years old on Oct. 19.
Services are pending at the Laufersweiler-Sievers Funeral Home in Fort Dodge.