LOS ANGELES — A former All-WAC basketball player for the University of Utah who played professionally around the world was shot to death in an alley on Monday night.

Charles "Buster" Matheny, 44, was found with multiple gunshot wounds to his upper body in the unincorporated community of Walnut Park about seven miles southeast of downtown, Deputy Boris Nikolaf said.

Paramedics pronounced Matheny dead at the scene. Three suspects were being sought Tuesday.

Matheny played professional basketball in Argentina, Australia, Italy, Mexico and the Philippines up until a few years ago, said his mother, Annie Matheny, from her home Tuesday.

Matheny led Utah in scoring in 1977-78 with an 18.1 average and led the team in rebounding the season before. He was 18th in career scoring and sixth in field-goal percentage.

One of Matheny's teammates for three years at Utah was Jeff Jonas, who learned of the shooting Tuesday.

"He was one of the nicest guys you'd ever want to meet," said Jonas. "He had a great family, he was funny — he was just a nice, nice guy."

"He came up here from L.A. kind of fat and worked himself into shape and became an all-conference player and a second round NBA Draft pick," added Jonas. "He was maybe the best center ever at Utah, facing the basket."