KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Stanley Freeman, Jr.’s travel basketball team is now organizing an event to honor the teen and his family.
The teenager was one of three Austin East students who died within the past month from a shooting.
His basketball coach and former teammates are continuing to show support for Freeman Jr.’s grieving family.
He was a beloved friend and teammate.
“We got real close, especially when we started AAU travel ball,” said former teammate, Tyson Guy.
For Tyson’s dad and for Stanley’s former basketball coach, Nathan Guy, he was more than just a player.
“Stan was a part of our family, like a son to us,” said Nathan. “He was high energy, but he listened. He was coachable. Just a great kid.”
Those attributes made losing Stanley even more unimaginable.
“You just feel like a part of you has been torn away,” explained Nathan.
“It was hard,” said Tyson. “It’s hard to just wrap around that this is actual reality.”
Nathan added, “the day that it happened, I was actually messaging with Stan two hours before that. We were trying to work out his schedule for work on the weekend so he could play for us this season.”
Basketball was a part of Freeman Jr.’s life.
“His passion for the game is out of this world,” said Nathan, “He wanted to pursue it after high school.”
Tyson said, “Whenever we played tournaments you could just always tell that it brought joy to him whenever we were all together and whenever we were all playing.”
Now the team will play for Stanley and his family through a tournament Nathan explained,
“We’re set from March 19 through the 21st. It will be at Eagleton Middle School.”
He said third- through 10th-grade teams will play together for one common purpose.
“Proceeds, after we pay for obviously the officials and security and custodian, the remainder of that money will go to the family for any expenses between the funeral, the hospital, and the vehicle that was damaged.”
Those who want to sign up for the tournament click here.
There will also be a silent auction during the tournament and they are still looking for items to auction off.
One item already donated, Guy said, was a University of Tennessee Football helmet.
Stanley was a teammate, friend, and part of the family who will be missed.
“There are a lot more people who had his back and who really wanted to see him thrive than he even knew,” said Tyson.
Knox Nets Travel Basketball Program also plans on retiring the No. 23, which was Freeman’s jersey number.
Coach Guy said his jersey will sit on the bench every game in honor of the former player.
Depending on how this tourniment goes, Guy hopes this becomes an annual event. ‘
This year the money raised will go to Freeman Jr.’s family, but Guy mentioned having the money in the coming years to go towards a scholarship in the teenager’s name.
A GoFundMe page has also been established in honor of Stanley. You can find that by clicking HERE.
Investigators are specifically requesting that any Austin-East students or parents who may have witnessed the shooting or have information relevant to the investigation contact the Violent Crimes Unit by phone at 865-215-7330 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can remain anonymous.