HOPEWELL TOWNSHIP — The mysterious circumstances around the fatal shooting of a Pennington School graduate and college basketball player have people asking why he was killed and why he was not in Florida with his team.

Phil Urban, 22, of Manalapan, was found "slumped over" in the driver's seat of a white Mercedes at a nature preserve in Hopewell Township around 7 p.m. on Saturday, according to Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo Onofri.

Authorities said Sunday that Urban had planned to meet someone at the preserve and may have been shot during the meeting.

Casey DeBlasio, a spokesperson for the Mercer County Prosecutor's Office, told New Jersey 101.5 that there were no updates as of late Tuesday morning. DeBlasio did not release the identity of the acquaintance or why they met.

Phil Urban (standing, second from left) with his college basketball team. (Post University)
Phil Urban (standing, second from left) with his college basketball team. (Post University)

Pennington grad stayed home with sickness

Urban completed his junior and senior years at the Pennington School before committing to Post University. The 6-foot-6-inch forward played in his first college game for the Post Eagles last month.

However, on the same day of Urban's killing, the Post University men's basketball team was in Lakeland, Florida for a tournament. A game recap on the team website states they upset 16-seed Florida Southern, 87-83 during the 2022 Mocs Christmas Classic on Saturday.

According to box scores, Urban also missed a game against Southern New Hampshire University on Dec. 10. Head men's basketball coach Marc Kuntz told New Jersey 101.5 that the freshman missed that game due to sickness.

READ MORE: Pennington School grad shot to death at NJ nature preserve

Kuntz also said that the team shortened its roster for its trip to Florida. Urban was not cut from the team but was left behind to continue his recovery and spend time with his family. The coach said the young player was still "earning his way" to be included in long-distance travel.

"Phil was well liked by everyone in the Post community. His quiet sense of humor was infectious and he was a valuable part of our basketball program," Kuntz said in a statement.

Rick Rickman is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at richard.rickman@townsquaremedia.com

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