SPOKANE, Wash. - “You feel something is missing,” said Joey Cawyer’s former Hoopfest teammate Nathan Lewis.
At Hoopfest 2012, Joey played for his 15th time at the tournament on team Zoltan, with Lewis. Cawyer died of cancer in the months leading up to Hoopfest 2013.
Cawyer’s old teammates, playing on the same team in his honor, returned to the 24th edition of Hoopfest but struggled playing without him.
"It's tough, it's really emotional,” Lewis said. “The first day we filled joy with wins, today with the loss, we definitely missed him out on the court, we needed his spirit."
Joey’s team won their first two games but lost their third game on Sunday morning. Even without Joey, his team said they have not forgotten him and all the fun they had for years at this event - one Joey loved to play in year after year.
“"It was a slumber party for a bunch of boys. We would keep mom up all night,” teammate Lewis recalled.” “We'd stay up way too late and then go play Hoopfest for 10 hours."
"As soon as that game was over, Joey said 364 days until Hoopfest and the countdown began," added another of Joey's teammates, David Sigley.
Just weeks before Cawyer died, Joey met his idol, Lebron James, when the Miami Heat played in Portland. Joey went with his family and friends to meet James and other players from the Heat.
A dream was fulfilled for a Hoopfest player who made his mark on those who knew him.