EUNICE, La. (KLFY) — Family, friends and teammates took some time tonight to mourn the sudden loss of star basketball player and Louisiana native Everette Jackson.
Jackson went missing June 11 after a witness reported seeing him fall from a tube, going underwater and not resurfacing on the Payette River in Emmett, Idaho.
News Ten Reporter Rodricka Taylor spoke with the people who were closest to him and knew him the best.
Tyrese Sam, Everette’s former teammate and roommate talks about his love of life.
“If you didn’t know him, you had to get to know him and you would have loved him.”
Former teammates of #34 say hearing the news about his death hit them hard.
Malik Criner, Everette’s former teammate and roommate: “I have been crying every single time I watched a video, a Snapchat. I have been crying each and every day. The emotions have been flying all over.”
Keion Lyons, Jackson’s niece says she did not think her last time seeing Everette would be the final time.
“He went out to Idaho. We’re thinking that he’s coming back, and now he’s never coming back. Especially not the way that we wanted him to come back.”
While everyone is grieving his death, the memories shared on and off the basketball court, at school and with his family will linger for years to come.
Criner recalls a moment on the court that he says noone will soon forget.
“I remember I passed him the ball, and he had dunked on somebody, and we all got on him, and we were just cheering, and he talked about it the whole week. As a player, he was really goofy on the court, always dancing, singing. Doing something crazy, but he was always locked in.”
LSU-E men’s basketball coach Byron Starks says what happened to Jackson is unfortunate.
“It’s just one of those things that happen in life, unfortunately it happened to a very, very good kid and a very good family member, as we would like to call him.”
Family members say they are making arrangements to ship Everette’s body back to Louisiana and are awaiting his autopsy to decide their next move. A GoFundMe has been created to help with the costs of getting his body home.
We do have a little bit of relief knowing that he’s found, and we can give him that proper burial, but that also hurts.”