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Tresse King, Air Force officer and mother of former CU Buffs star George King, dies in Kuwait

Tresse King enjoyed promotion ceremony at CU in 2016

CU Buff, George King, right, and his sister, Jecia, left, have fun with their mother, Tresse King, after she was promoted to Chief Master Sergeant in the Air Force, during the halftime of the Colorado Sacramento State men's basketball game in Boulder, Co, on November 12, 2016.
Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer /
November 12, 2016
CU Buff, George King, right, and his sister, Jecia, left, have fun with their mother, Tresse King, after she was promoted to Chief Master Sergeant in the Air Force, during the halftime of the Colorado Sacramento State men’s basketball game in Boulder, Co, on November 12, 2016. Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer / November 12, 2016
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Tragedy has struck the Colorado men’s basketball family.

According to a news release from the Department of Defense, Air Force Chief Master Sergeant Tresse King, the mother of former Buffaloes star George King, died on Tuesday while deployed in Kuwait.

No details were released other than saying King died “in a noncombat-related incident” at Ali Al Salem Air Base. Tresse King was deployed in Kuwait as part of Operation Inherent Resolve, a joint task force charged with a mission to “defeat ISIS in designated areas of Iraq and Syria and sets conditions for follow-on operations to increase regional stability,” according to the OIR website.

Tresse King was 54. She was based at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida as a squadron superintendent of the 96th Force Support Squadron.

Despite being deployed overseas during George’s senior year of 2017-18, Tresse King made the journey to Boulder for Senior Day, when she surprised George with her appearance. One season earlier, her promotion ceremony to Chief Master Sergeant was held during the Buffs’ season-opening win against Sacramento State, which happened to fall on Veteran’s Day.

King recently passed through Boulder while making his way to Portland, where he was set to play for the Trailblazers’ NBA Summer League team. Head coach Tad Boyle shared a lunch with King, and on Thursday on behalf of the entire program Boyle expressed his condolences to the King family.

“I’m sure (George) is devastated. He and his mom were very close,” Boyle said. “I’ll always remember when she surprised him on Senior Night and being here for him. George comes from a military family. Both his mom and dad served our country. To have her pass, it’s just tragic. Stuff like this happens every day, but when it happens to you or one of your former players, or someone you care really deeply about, it’s heart-wrenching. My heart goes out to George and his entire family.

“One of the cool things about college sports is just yesterday, when we got the news, the number of former players that rallied around him to give him support, it’s pretty amazing. He’ll get a lot of support from his Buff family. But it’s just a sad day and tragic news.”

George King traveled an unusual road to stardom at CU, consenting to a redshirt season as a sophomore after playing sparingly as a freshman. King made the most of his practice time and emerged from the hiatus as a different player, leading the Pac-12 Conference in 3-point percentage in 2015-16 (.456) while winning the league’s Most Improved Player award.

King was a second team All-Pac-12 selection as senior in 2018 and was selected late in the second round (59th overall) of that year’s NBA draft by Phoenix. He spent this past season playing professionally in Germany. King still is ranked 19th all-time at CU in scoring (1,294), 15th in total rebounds (681), fifth in made 3-pointers (181), and second in career 3-point percentage (.401).