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Post University Basketball Player Found Shot To Death In Car In New Jersey

Phil Urban, who joined the private Connecticut university's basketball team on a scholarship this academic year, was found shot in his car near his New Jersey home on Saturday evening.

By Megan Carpentier
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A Connecticut college basketball player has been found shot to death in his car near his hometown in New Jersey.

Phillip Urban, 20, was found shot to death in his car in the Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Space's Eames Preserve in Hopewell Township, New Jersey  — about halfway between New York and Philadelphia — on Saturday evening, according to a press release from the Mercer County Prosecutor's office and the local news site MercerMe.

The prosecutor's office stated that police were called to the scene around 7:30 p.m. for a car parked on a trail in the Eames Preserve, and found a white Mercedes Benz C300 sedan with a man slumped over the steering wheel. He was transported to a local hospital, where he died of a gunshot wound.

"Preliminary investigation indicates Urban arranged to meet an acquaintance at the preserve and was shot at some point during the encounter," the press release states.

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The Eames Preserve is a small nature preserve in an otherwise residential area of Hopewell Township with a gravel parking area just off the road that can hold 4-5 cars. It has 1.6 mile looped trail, the first section of which is a former road.

The preserve is about 35 miles west of Urban's hometown of Manalapan, New Jersey, but less than five miles from The Pennington School, the prestigious private high school where Urban was enrolled and played basketball during his junior and senior years in high school, according to the Connecticut Insider.

Phil Urban's Post University roster photo

Urban graduated last May and was accepted to Post University on a basketball scholarship, according to the New York Post. He played as a forward in just four games this year, according to the college's website, for a total of 10 minutes. Post University men's basketball head coach Marc Kuntz told Connecticut Insider that the school was limiting the team's travel roster, so Urban was "asked to stay home and get an early start on the holidays" — the last day of final exams was Friday — when the team played Florida Southern College on Saturday.

Their Sunday game against Barry University was cancelled in light of his death.

"Phil loved the game of basketball," Kuntz told the paper. "He would spend a lot of time in the gym. He loved our program, he loved the guys. He loved hanging out with them."

Urban was studying business administration at the time of his death. 

"Philip modeled the attributes of leadership, commitment and hard work on the court and in the classroom," Post University President John L. Hopkins said in a statement, according to NBC Hartford affiliate WVIT.

Police are asking that anyone with any information call the Mercer County Homicide Task Force at 609-989-6406, the Hopewell Township Police Department at 609-737-3100 ext. 5740 or email mchtftips@mercercounty.org. 

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