BEATRICE, Ala. (WKRG) – A former NBA player from Monroe County died Sunday in Houston, TX. Beatrice’s former high school teammates and friends remember one of their own.
“I was always in his shadow no matter the situation, but I didn’t mind being there,” coach Jermone Sanders said. Sanders played basketball with Drew at JF Shields High School.
“He was standout. Always try to carry the ball with one leg up and go between his legs and put it down. I said man why do you practice this stuff. That’s exactly what he did, he was phenomenal,” Sanders said.
Drew graduated from high school in 1972. This is where Sanders now coaches basketball. After high school, Drew continued to play in the NBA for the Atlanta Hawks and Utah Jazz, but a drug addiction eventually forced him out of the league.
“You pay for your mistakes. I mean we all make them. I did a few,” Sanders said.
Now, even after his death, Sanders and other friends are pushing to have his name inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame. An online petition is circulating to make this happen.
“I just want to let them know here in JF Shields and in southern Alabama that he will never be forgotten. I would just like to see him get his last reward which he will probably get and that is to be in the Temple of Alabama sports fame,” Sanders said.
Wednesday afternoon, the petition already had more than 300 signatures.
Drew was the first player banned under the NBA’s drug policy and while that ultimately seemed to cloud the light on his career, those who knew him hope the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame will take into consideration his achievements on and off the pitch.