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Former Butler star Joel Cornette dies at age 35

(Photo: www.indystar.com)

The Butler basketball program is in mourning for the second time this year. Former Bulldog Joel Cornette, who was a starter on three NCAA Tournament teams, died in Chicago early Tuesday morning.

Andrew Smith,25, died in January after a lengthy battle with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Smith, Cornette and Matt Howard are the only three players in school history with more than 100 victories and 1,000 career points.

Cornette was 35. The Cook County (Ill.) coroner’s office confirmed his death and that Cornette died at his apartment around 1 a.m. An autopsy is pending and there is no report as yet regarding the cause of death.

Cornette played in every game over a four-year period, including starting the final 97 games of his career. He played on four Horizon League regular-season champions, three NCAA Tournament teams and led Butler in rebounding in three seasons. Cornette led the team in blocked shots in his four seasons and was named to Butler’s all-century team.

Cornette was the director of basketball operations at Butler from 2006-07, was an assistant coach at Iowa from 2007-10 and then spent two seasons as an analyst with ESPN. In 2012, Cornette joined Priority Sports as an agent. According to the company’s web site, he was the Director of Basketball Recruiting.

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