COLCORD - Recently, a group of eighth grade basketball players at Colcord Middle School decided to pay tribute to a late Colcord basketball player that not only was a teammate but a friend as well.

Before a recent junior high game, the team honored Dustin Leroy and his parents. Leroy drowned on July 17 in Lake Hudson in Mayes County. The players wanted to let Leroy’s parents Lonnie and Tonya Leroy know they missed their friend.

"The kids came to me and told me they had come up with an idea to honor Dustin Leroy," said Colcord boys basketball coach Rick Hendren. "They ask me if they could do this before one of their games."

Eighth grade basketball player John Nguyen came up with the idea

"Dustin was a really good friend of mine," Nguyen said. "I was just thinking that if something happened to me like this I would want people to do something to make my parents feel better."

Nguyen then decide to put the idea in motion.

"I just got my friends together and we came up with this. We thought Dylan (Davis) could wear his shoes and number."

Davis was honored to wear Leroy's number and shoes.

"We decided to honor Dustin," Davis said. "John thought we should do something to remember him by. Dustin was always nice and happy. He was a really good friend. I decided to wear his shoes for his parents and in memory of him."

Another player George Phillips had this to say about the tribute.

"We wanted to just do something for Dustin to remember him," Phillips said. " Just to let his family know that we care about him."

For Nguyen, honoring Leroy was all about love.

"We just wanted to give Dustin a tribute," Nguyen said. "He loved basketball and we all loved him. We just wanted his parents to know how much we cared about him and will not forget him."

The team presented Leroy’s family with flowers and balloons at the game.