Terrance Keaton, 20, died on Monday in a car accident. He was a member of the St. Clair Community College basketball team that won the 2010 regional championship back in March and a friend to many in this basketball community.
I might have actually coached you once or twice in all the time I’ve known you; even so, you always called me “coach”and I never corrected you.
You were something special, Terrance. You didn’t need basketball to be a star. To know you was to love you.
I can remember the first time I saw you on a basketball court. You were just starting your sophomore season at International Academy of Flint. I had just stopped in to watch practice in that matchbox-sized gym with the hoops that I told you were too low after I saw you dunk. You didn’t know me at the time, but that didn’t stop you from guaranteeing that your team would beat Genesee Christian for the district title before you’d even played a game that season.
A few months later, I couldn’t help but endanger my credentials as an unbiased reporter (I worked at the Journal at the time) when I openly cheered after you did what you told me you’d do.
In typical grandiose fashion, I remember you screaming “we shocked the world!” as the buzzer sounded. In retrospect, I don’t think you shocked anyone. The Terrance I knew would do whatever it took to help his team win, and that’s exactly what you did. It didn’t matter what jersey you were wearing. If you were playing AAU ball for the Lakers, high school ball for the Cavs or college ball at St. Clair, you were always a team guy.
You always tried to cultivate a rough and tough exterior, but people who knew you weren’t fooled. You’d go to war for a friend; you were kind almost to a fault and you never failed to boast about your teammates before saying a word about yourself.
I talked to your old coach, Chris Matheson, on the phone today. He was understandably devastated at the news of your passing. He told me some great stories about you that I hadn’t heard. Of course I’m very well acquainted with your antics, but it’s always good to hear new ones. The antics were what made you unique, and your coaches lived with them because you went 100% all game, every game.
Coach Matheson told me that every teams needs a Terrance Keaton; a guy who makes being a part of something, anything, more fun than it could ever be on its own.
I’m going to miss our Facebook chats and the text messages after big games; but, most of all, I’ll miss that goofy smile of yours. (Everyone who knew you knows what I’m talking about.)
They also know that you had the reputation for being the guy that just couldn’t stop talking, on or off the court. The talking stopped on Monday, if only for a short while. Your example still speaks today. You lived life to the fullest and positively affected everyone you came into contact with.
Rest in peace big man.