John Malone was riding home from Indiana University with a group of people when their SUV blew a tire and rolled over on I-65 near Remington, Indiana.
Malone, 20, was a 2011 graduate of Fenwick High School in Oak Park who played on the basketball team.
"When I came into the gym this morning is when I really felt it," Fenwick's athletic director Scott Thies said. "We suffered a big loss."
"He was a big part of our success but beyond that he established relationships and friendships that he continued until the last minute of his life," Thies said.
A sophomore at Indiana University, Malone was coming home for the summer when the car he and four friends were riding in blew a tire. The vehicle flipped over killing Malone.
The ensuing backup caused a second fatal accident.
"More so than his athletic ability he kept everybody lighthearted, everybody loose," Fenwick Principal and Malone's former baseball coach Peter Groom said. "Interestingly when he would perform, he was very hard on himself sometimes."
It's been a tough year for Fenwick. White ribbons and flags still line the trees in remembrance of Anne Smedinghoff, the 25-year old diplomat killed in Afghanistan who was also a Fenwick alum.
"It's hard. I don't know that you can necessarily articulate how we're dealing with it," Groom said. "There's praying, a lot of praying."