Tyner basketball team dedicates season to fallen teammate
After 16-year-old Javon Craddock passed away, the Tyner Academy boy's basketball team made a promise to honor him this season.
Javon had a rare heart condition and suddenly passed away on May 16 while playing basketball at the Boys and Girls Club.
During the team’s season opener game against Hixson Tuesday night, Javon's Tyner jersey was hung inside the gym, along with a collage of pictures of him and his teammates.
Javon’s teammates, Cameron Dozier and Amon Grace, admitted the game may be emotional and odd without Javon by their side.
“Everything we do; we play for Javon,” said Grace.
“His spirit was just a lot. We just miss him and stuff so trying to find someone to fill his shoes…it is hard because I mean he was our shooter. Every time he got the ball we knew it was going up,” said Dozier.
Dozier and Grace say Javon was their friend and brother. Javon's love for basketball is something they carried with them throughout the offseason.
“He loved the game. This is all he wanted to do, play basketball so we try to love it just as much as he did,” said Dozier.
As a second-year coach, E'Jay Ward admits it has been challenging rebuilding a team without Javon.
“You know year one, we went to the state and that happened May 16 so it’s a lot you know. I’m still learning. It is still an awkwardness around here considering the fact that he was the life of the party and he is not here, but I asked them what are you going to do with your 24 hours? You are still here. You are still able to play. What are you going to do?” said Ward. “You need a why. Why are you doing things? This year we are going to dedicate it to Javon. As long as we lead the state in effort we will be fine.”
With maximum effort and perseverance this team is determined to win, but not without Javon.
“Just watch over us give us the ability to do what you did,” said Dozier.
Tyner plays again at home Wednesday against Collegedale Academy.