Rival teams square off for basketball player

May 20, 2010 10:00:22 AM PDT
The Yates and Bellaire basketball teams are among the best in the nation -- a matchup any basketball fan would love to see, a matchup that happened Wednesday only because of a tragedy.

Sunday morning, Bellaire senior and basketball standout Tobi Oyedeji was killed on his way home from a school- sponsored after-prom party. His car veered out of its lane and he hit an SUV head on. The nurse driving the SUV, Gertha Augustin, also died.

HISD organized Wednesday night's game as a way to raise money for Oyedeji's family, and honor his legacy. Hundreds of family, friends, fans and even strangers attended.

"This not just Yates and Bellaire; this is for Tobi; nothing but Tobi," said one of the players with whom we spoke.

Hundreds of people filled Delmar Stadium Wednesday night to watch two of the best teams hoop it up for Oyedeji.

Yates tipped the ball off alone, in honor of Oyedeji. He was Bellaire's big man in the middle and started games at center court. Bellaire played four on five.

Drawing a roar from the crowd with their first basket, Bellaire plays tough against the number one team in the country, just the way their Oyedeji would have wanted them to.

"He's here though in spirit, so he would want us to go out here and have a good time and play hard," the player said.

The crowd cheers with each basket, knowing that their friend and teammate is watching.

In the crowd is Texas A&M basketball coach Mark Turgeon

"The love I have for Tobi and his family, it's been a tough week," Turgeon said.

Turgeon got to know Oyedeji very well while recruiting him to go to A&M. The coach says he will always be an Aggie.

"He's was really proud to be an Aggie, so he'll always be an Aggie and part of our program," Turgeon said.

Oyedeji touched the lives of lots of people at the game. That included Bellaire alum and Los Angeles Clippers player DeAndre Jordan who coached the Cardinals on Wednesday night.

"It's still tough. I still see myself shaking a little bit, but Tobi was a great guy, like I said, on and off the court, and he was just a happy man, a happy kid," Jordan said.

At halftime, the players held a three point shooting and slam dunk contest. For a few hours, cheers replace sadness in the hearts of hundreds of young people who came together to honor a star whose light faded away much too soon.

HISD told us Thursday morning that $16,470 was raised from the benefit game to help the Oyedeji family.

A viewing for Oyedeji will be held Friday evening at Forest Park Westheimer Funeral Home. A graveside funeral service will be held there Saturday afternoon.


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