Former Texas star, NBA player and executive Lance Blanks dies at 56

Lance Blanks helped lead Texas to the Elite Eight in 1990 and was selected by the Pistons in the first round of the draft that year

ESPN Longhorn Network announcer Lance Blanks

Former Texas star, NBA player and executive Lance Blanks died Wednesday, the league announced Thursday afternoon. He was 56.

His cause of death is unknown.

“Lance was a light for all those who knew him,” NBA executive vice president Joe Dumars, who played with Banks in Detroit, said in a statement. “It’s been a privilege to have called him one of my closest friends. I’m eternally grateful for all the support he has shown me throughout the years. His legacy will be carried on, not only by his family, but by all those whose lives he touched for the better. You will be dearly missed, brother.”

Blanks transferred to Texas in 1988 after spending his first two college seasons at Virginia. With the Longhorns, he averaged 20 points and 5 rebounds over two seasons before the Detroit Pistons took him with the No. 26 pick in the 1990 NBA Draft.

Blanks spent three years in the league, two with the Pistons and one with the Minnesota Timberwolves, before he played seven seasons internationally to round out his career.

He then spent time in several front offices, working as a scout for the San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Clippers, as an assistant general manager for the Cleveland Cavaliers and as the general manager for the Phoenix Suns. Blanks spent three seasons running the Suns, compiling a 98-132 record. He also worked briefly as an ESPN analyst with the Longhorn Network.

Blanks, who helped lead Texas to the Elite Eight in 1990, was inducted into the Longhorns Hall of Honor in 2007.

“My dad was my person. He was my teacher, my idol, my best friend," Riley Blanks Reed, one of Blanks' two daughters, said in a statement. "The love I have for him is simply immeasurable. He carried his family and friends on his selfless shoulders and he was the wisest man I’ll ever know. The path ahead is dark without him but he once told me that he trusted my sister and me to carry the torch of our family’s legacy. And we will.”