DUNCANVILLE — A young North Texas basketball star who was killed when a train slammed into his car last weekend was honored Friday night.
Deion Jackson Houston's elite team — coached by his father — played at the Great American Shootout tournament with other squads from all around Texas.
But the Texas Bluechips Navy got on the court without Number 11.
"It's heartbreaking, but he would want us to play," said one teammate. "That's why we are playing."
And that's why his father, Stacy Houston, was coaching.
"When the team is not doing well, I will call Deion up. I'm not gonna have that. And Deion can't go in the game," he said.
Deion was 17 years old, and he had basketball dreams beyond his home turf.
"He just started turning the corner to become a very good basketball player," Deion's father said. "He was getting ready to take his game to the next level."
Deion and the Bluechips had been preparing to play in the tournament for weeks, so for his father — and for his team — the only option left was to play.
"It's a real honor to be here, to have the strength, because without God, I wouldn't be able to be here," Stacy Houston said.
It was an emotional night of paying tribute to a player and a son who has touched so many lives.
"Deion has brought all of us together, so it's our job as coaches and my job as his father to keep that going," Houston said.
More than 200 people attended the game Friday night. The Bluechips won by two points.